A federal court has awarded $1.3 million to the attorneys who successfully sued to redraw Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, an amount assessed partially against Virginia taxpayers and partly against current and former Republican members of Congress. The case is one of three redistricting lawsuits in Virginia, and the only one that has seen full conclusion with last year’s redrawing of U.S. Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott’s district. Legal fees in these cases have run into the millions, much of it borne by taxpayers, as Republicans and Democrats fight over the district lines so crucial to winning elections.
The 3rd District case, Personhuballah v. Alcorn, was initially filed against the State Board of Elections, though Gov. Terry McAuliffe and his fellow Democrats have hoped to see Virginia’s lines redrawn. Attorney Marc Elias and his law firm, Perkins Coie, brought this case and one other in Virignia, and the firm has cases in other states as well, all seeking lines more favorable to Democratic Party candidates.
Virginia’s congressional Republicans took over the bulk of defense work in the 3rd District case, fighting to preserve lines that led to an 8-3 Republican majority in the state’s congressional delegation despite an electorate that has narrowly put Democrats into all of Virginia’s statewide elected positions. Current and former members who engaged attorneys in that effort will owe close to $480,000 to Elias and his firm, with the rest billed to the state.
On Twitter Friday, Elias called out his GOP adversaries, whom he also bested this week in a Supreme Court decision from his firm’s second case, targeting lines in the Virginia House of Delegates.