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Progress Virginia Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in House of Delegates Gerrymandering Case


The following statement is from Progress Virginia regarding this morning’s Supreme Court ruling on Virginia House of Delegates gerrymandering, which held that “the District Court employed an incorrect legal standard in determining that race did not predominate in 11 of the 12 districts,” that “the District Court misunderstood relevant precedents when it required the challengers to establish, as a prerequisite to showing racial predominance, an actual conflict between the enacted plan and traditional redistricting principles”; that the “District Court also erred in considering the legislature’s racial motive only to the extent that the challengers identified deviations from traditional redistricting criteria attributable to race and not to some other factor”; etc.

Progress Virginia Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Bethune Hill Case

Richmond, VA – This morning the United States Supreme Court reversed a District Court ruling challenging 12 Virginia House of Delegates districts in Bethune Hill v. Virginia State Board of Election. The Supreme Court said the lower court did not apply the appropriate standard in deciding whether race was an inappropriate motivator in the line drawing. The case is remanded back to the 4th District to reconsider under new criteria. A new decision from the District Court could force a new redrawing of Virginia’s political district lines.

“Today’s decision is a great victory for Virginia voters who want to have a real say in who represents them in Richmond,” said Progress Virginia Executive Director Anna Scholl. “Voters should choose their elected officials, not the other way around. When politicians draw districts that ensure they can’t lose, they rig the game for special interests and the wealthy few. Politicians should not be allowed to use race or other political considerations to turn one election into lifetime tenure. We hope today’s decision leads to new, fair political district lines in Virginia drawn by an independent body to ensure Virginia voters have the final say on who sits in the House of Delegates.”

  • VA House Dem Leader David Toscano: “Less than an hour ago, the US Supreme Court said that a lower court must re-examine 11 Virginia House of Delegates and Senate districts challenged as racially gerrymandered – “packed” with minority voters to dilute the power of their votes. This could make for very interesting election districts for our state legislature in the next year or so. “

  • Del. Sam Rasoul:

    “This is another great victory in the fight against gerrymandering,” said Rasoul. “People are demanding government they can trust. When politicians pick their voters instead of the other way around, that’s not what they’re getting. I’ve put in legislation for fair and independent redistricting every year, and I’m glad to see that it is gaining traction here and in other states like Wisconsin and North Carolina.”

  • old_redneck

    While the court’s decision is good news, it is only the beginning of a huge fight that we cannot afford to lose but that we likely will lose.

    According to One Virginia: “Virginia is one of the most gerrymandered states in the country both on the congressional and state levels based on lack of compactness and contiguity of its districts. Virginia Congressional Districts are ranked the 5th worst in the country because counties and cities are broken into multiple pieces to create heavily partisan districts.”


    While SCOTUS has sent the districts back to be re-drawn, the question remains: WHO DOES THE DRAWING?

    In Virginia, it’s the legislature that draws the maps. Well, not really. It likely is “consultants” hired by the legislature who draw the maps.

    If you have not done so, you need to read this book: “Ratf###ed: The True Story Behind the Secret Plan to Steal America’s Democracy.” The author describes how Republican consultants and legislators have used state-of-the-art mapping software to gerrymander districts.

    Current mapping software can draw maps based on any data. For example, get the data on Presidential election results back to, say, 1996 at the precinct/polling place level. This will show you in detail which polling places voted strong Republican, strong Democrat, or somewhere in between. Now, tell your mapping software to draw the districts so as to spread out Democrats into majority Republican districts, and, miracle of miracles, you have districts that will NEVER elect a Democrat. And that, folks, is what Republicans nationwide have done and that Virginia Republicans are planning to do.

    What to do about it?

    First, READ THE BOOK.

    Second, support One Virginia 2021 http://www.onevirginia2021.org/

    Third: Organize, take action.

    • JTS

      Important for people to realize that computer modeling allows for construction of somewhat normal geometric districts that are nonetheless engineered for statistically predictable election outcomes.

  • Jelff

    Here is a Google map that shows the boundaries of the 11 remanded Virginia House districts. For more information, you can click “Map Tips” in the upper left corner.

    Map link: https://goo.gl/hbky2v

    The map is displayed by Gmap4. I am the developer of that enhanced Google map viewer.

  • From the VA House Dem Caucus:

    House Dems Statement on SCOTUS Redistricting Decision

    RICHMOND, Va. – House Democratic Leader David J. Toscano and Caucus Chair Charniele Herring released the following joint statement in response to today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that found a lower court applied an inappropriate analysis in a redistricting case in which it found that eleven House of Delegates districts withstood Constitutional muster:

    “Virginia is one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation, and we applaud the court’s decision as a critical step toward correcting a system that is rigged. Voters should choose their representatives, but in Virginia, it’s the other way around. Seventy-four percent of Virginians support giving control of redistricting to an independent commission, and we saw unprecedented public demand during the last legislative session for meaningful reform. We look forward to the continued progression of this case, and we renew our commitment to ending gerrymandering in Virginia.”

    The Court’s full opinion in Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections in available on the U.S. Supreme Court’s website.

    House Republicans systematically killed every Democratic effort to accomplish redistricting reform this session through the legislative process.