Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District would be confined to Hampton Roads, and the cities of Richmond and Petersburg would move into the 4th District, represented by Republican Rep. J. Randy Forbes, under proposals an expert has recommended to a three-judge panel that is redrawing Virginia’s congressional map. The recommendations by Bernard Grofman of the University of California-Irvine match key aspects of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposal in that they seek to give African-Americans a reasonable chance of electing two members of Congress of their choice, in the 3rd and the 4th districts.
But it is unclear whether the expert’s recommendations will matter, given that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear an appeal filed by Republicans in Virginia’s congressional delegation.
The three-judge panel has twice ruled that in the plan Gov. Bob McDonnell signed in 2012, Virginia’s legislature packed too many additional blacks into the majority-minority 3rd District, diluting their influence in adjacent districts. The judges found that the 2012 plan violated the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.