See below for reactions to this morning’s Supreme Court rulings by Virginia elected officials.
From AG Mark Herring:
From Sen. Tim Kaine:
KAINE STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT CENSUS AND GERRYMANDERING DECISIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on the Supreme Court’s decisions in Department of Commerce v. New York, Rucho v. Common Cause, and Lamone v. Benisek:
“I’m pleased the citizenship question will remain off the census for now, and I hope it will stay off. Turning the census into an ideological tool to intimidate immigrants is immoral and could result in Virginia being undercounted next year, reducing our fair share of federal dollars.
“I’m disappointed the Supreme Court will allow partisan gerrymandering to continue plaguing our system. Voters should pick their leaders, not the other way around.”
In April, Senator Kaine cosigned an amicus curiae brief urging the Supreme Court to rule against the Trump Administration’s citizenship question.
From Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08):
Beyer’s Fair Representation Act Would Fix Damage Done By Supreme Court Gerrymandering Decision
June 27, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) issued the following statement today upon the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling against challenges to partisan gerrymandering in Rucho v. Common Cause:
“This infuriating, political decision will dismay everyone who opposes partisan gerrymandering, which is a terrible and undemocratic practice no matter who does it. Any system that allows politicians to choose their voters instead of voters choosing their elected leaders is fundamentally wrong. With the Supreme Court’s failure today, we need legislation to fix partisan gerrymandering. My forthcoming bill, the Fair Representation Act, would do so.”
Beyer first introduced the Fair Representation Act, which would institute a national system by which Representatives are elected using ranked choice voting to represent multi-member districts drawn by independent redistricting commissions, two years ago.
From Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA11):
Connolly Statement on SCOTUS Census Decision
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chairman of the House Government Operations subcommittee, released the following statement on today’s Supreme Court census decision:
“Shortly before the Administration announced its plan to add a citizenship question to the decennial census, I spoke personally with Secretary Wilbur Ross to share my deep concerns about the harm such a question would do to the integrity and accuracy of the Census. What was clear at the time of the phone call, and has now been confirmed by the Supreme Court, is that Mr. Ross had already made up his mind and was just checking a box. Now, after testimony, rigorous oversight, and the revelation of the Hofeller documents made available posthumously, the Supreme Court has ruled that Secretary Ross lied to Congress and the American public. This is a vindication of the work of the House Oversight Committee and demonstrates the importance of our ongoing investigations and oversight responsibilities.
There is everlasting shame brought to the Trump Administration in its original motivations to add this question. It was designed to suppress the participation of minorities, people of color, and immigrants, all in a reprehensible effort to diminish their representation, including in the U.S. Congress. The fact that this would be the case debases the whole purpose of having an accurate Census, as is required by the Constitution of the United States.
While a narrow majority of the Supreme Court upheld the clear constitutional intent of the census, and struck a blow for democracy in the process, it remains deeply disturbing that four members of the highest court would, nonetheless, think it is acceptable to countenance the mendacity and patently partisan political intent of the Administration to manipulate the census to its own ends. This is a stain these justices will wear forever.”
Without acknowledging what happened in 2016 we can’t prepare for future elections. The SECURE Our Democracy Act will send a clear message that there will be severe consequences for interfering with US elections. People have to be held accountable. pic.twitter.com/ySuX6Uh5bt
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 27, 2019
Wilbur lied and the question died. pic.twitter.com/uQOOLjFf8l
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 27, 2019
Supreme Court Blocks Citizenship Question
VACIR celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision to block the citizenship question
Richmond, VA – Last year, Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights (VACIR), joined other community-based organizations in testifying in the Southern District Court of New York on the drawbacks of including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Today, the Supreme Court has voted to block the citizenship question from being included in the Census. Adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census will scare households with undocumented members from participating, thereby harming families living in Virginia by undermining participation and causing an inaccurate count of people living in the Commonwealth. VACIR, a collaborative of 34 organizations commend the Supreme Court for ensuring the rights of immigrant families.
“Count Us In! This will be the cry across Virginia as noncitizens, their families, and families acknowledge the reasonable exclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census. In fact, a few days before today’s announcement, new evidence highlighted the role of a well-known Republican gerrymandering expert in the Trump Administration’s decision to pursue a citizenship question. While we welcome the news, we are already hitting the streets to educate Asian Americans, a population that the Census Bureau found to be the least likely to complete the Census, following so many months of fear and intimidation. We know that the inclusion would have intentionally depressed the counts of noncitizens. This would carry serious implications for the political and economic well-being of Virginia and the South. NAKASEC VA is committed to fighting for full citizenship for our AAPI communities, immigrant communities, low-income communities, and communities of color.” says Sookyung Oh, Area Director, NAKASEC VA.
“We are incredibly thankful that the Supreme Court decided to uphold the integrity of the census. Everyone who resides in the US deserves to be counted. At VACIR we are proud of the role we played in this case, and we will continue to fight for Immigrant Rights on all fronts.” said Monica Sarmiento, Executive Director at the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights.“
VACIR is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic coalition of organizations that exists to win dignity, power and quality of life for all immigrant and refugee communities.
From the VA Senate Dems:
“Today’s SCOTUS ruling highlights the importance of flipping Virginia blue this year! Virginia Republicans have made it clear that they’re not above racial or political gerrymandering. They’re only interested in protecting their power and their narrowly-held majority, at any cost.
It’s in the hands of voters to hold their elected officials accountable and demand fair maps. To end partisan gerrymandering and ensure fair maps, we must flip the Virginia House and Senate this year!”
From Fairfax County Supervisor (and likely the next Chair) Jeff McKay: