Attorney General Mark R. Herring is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to deny a Republican request for a stay to block implementation of Virginia’s new congressional map. Herring’s office, defending the State Board of Elections, says that the harm to Virginians of restoring the old 3rd District, which a three-judge panel has found unconstitutional, and ordering November elections in Virginia’s old districts outweighs any harm the new map poses to Republicans in Virginia’s congressional delegation. Even if Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-4th, or another Republican in Virginia’s congressional delegation “could show irreparable injury” as a result of the new congressional boundaries, any such injury would be outweighed by the public interest and the injury to the plaintiffs and other Virginia voters, lawyers for the Attorney General’s Office write in response to the GOP motion.
A three-judge panel on Jan. 7 imposed a new Virginia congressional map that could give blacks a chance to elect candidates of their choice in two districts, not just one.
The reconfiguration alters the 3rd District, represented by Democrat Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, by centering it in Hampton Roads. It adds Richmond and Petersburg to Forbes’ 4th District, a transformation that would give Democrats a better chance to pick up the seat in November.
The map makes lesser changes to the 1st, 2nd and 7th districts, represented by Republicans Robert J. Wittman, Scott Rigell and Dave Brat, respectively.