For presumably technical reasons, the Arlington Independent Media (AIM) feed of last night’s Virginia redistricting forum started somewhere in the middle of Del. Mark Levine’s introductory remarks, and didn’t include 1VA2021 director Brian Cannon’s remarks, but it did capture the entire Q&A session, so that’s good at least. See below for the video AIM posted…will post Cannon’s remarks as well if anyone provides them to me.
Anyway, my main takeaway from the Q&A session is that I’m even more strongly in agreement with Del. Mark Levine than I was before. On question after question, I heard very clear and persuasive arguments from Levine, as to why the 2021 redistricting should be governed by a *law* passed in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly session, and not by this terribly flawed, basically Republican (e.g., it is *not* the 1VA2021 amendment), “worse-than-current-law” constitutional amendment that’s coming up for its second required vote this upcoming session.
The biggest problem with the not-1VA2021 amendment, of course, is that the “backstop” if the commission fails – which under this amendment, is a highly plausible scenario – would be the overwhelmingly right-wing Republican-dominated Virginia Supreme Court. According to 1VA2021 director Brian Cannon, “enabling legislation” can “bind” the Virginia Supreme Court, but Del. Levine argued persuasively IMHO that this is not possible. Also, I don’t understand how the same legislature that Cannon says can’t be trusted is also the legislature that has to pass crucial “enabling legislation” that Cannon says is critical for the amendment to work. Huh? Yeah, I don’t get it at all. Anyway…why not just pass fair redistricting legislation to govern what happens in 2021, then see how that goes, and *then* work on designing a constitutional amendment for 2031? Unless, of course, the preference is to have yet *another* Republican gerrymander – by the Virginia Supreme Court in this case – screw up Virginia for the next decade, just as it did for the previous decade. No, thank you!