Home Redistricting BREAKING: Virginia Supreme Court Disqualifies One VA GOP Redistricting “Special Master” Nominee,...

BREAKING: Virginia Supreme Court Disqualifies One VA GOP Redistricting “Special Master” Nominee, Also “Has Concerns” About the Others as Too Partisan


On November 8th, the Virginia Senate Democrats called foul on the VA GOP’s nominees for redistricting “special masters,” with Sen. Scott Surovell commenting at the time, “Courts are supposed to be free of politics—which is why we enacted conflict of interest provisions in the enabling legislation for the nonpartisan redistricting constitutional amendment, and the Republican caucuses have asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to effectively sanction partisan map drawing.” Well, now, it looks like the Virginia Supreme Court (see below) has agreed with the Virginia Senate Democrats, writing that:

  • The Court intends to appoint Special Masters who are qualified and do not have a conflict of interest… the Special Masters must be neutral and must not act as advocates or representatives of any political party”
  • “Although Mr. Bryan’s work for the Senate Republican caucus was not disclosed in the nominating materials initially
    submitted to the Court, Mr. Bryan ultimately disclosed relevant information to the Court in the course of the nominating process. Nonetheless, while the Court does not question Mr. Bryan’s integrity and accepts his reputation as a qualified demographic expert, the Court believes that his work for the Senate Republican Caucus related to the very subject matter for which the Court is called upon to appoint Special Masters creates a conflict. For this reason, the Court hereby disqualifies Mr. Bryan as a nominee.”
  • “Upon a review of the Republican submissions, the Court also has concerns about the ability of the remaining Republican nominees to serve in the role of Special Master as described in this Order. Accordingly, by unanimous order of the Court, the Republican leaders are directed to submit to the Clerk by 5 p.m. on November 15, 2021, the names of three or more additional nominees consistent with the criteria set forth in Part I of this Order”

P.S. This seems like a good sign that the Supreme Court process on redistricting might not end up being a farce after all, as many have worried it would be…


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