A federal court on Tuesday ruled that Virginia’s legislative districts were gerrymandered along racial lines and ordered the state to come up with a redistricting plan by the end of October. In a 2-1 ruling, the judges for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that state lawmakers must redraw lines for state House districts by Oct. 30. “Overwhelming evidence in this case shows that, contrary to this constitutional mandate, the state has sorted voters into districts based on the color of their skin,” Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in the majority opinion.
“We therefore find that the 2011 Virginia House of Delegates redistricting plan violates the Equal Protection Clause,” Keenan added noting that Virginia lawmakers have been given “until October 30 to construct a remedial districting plan that rectifies the constitutional deficiencies.”
Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer representing the voters challenging the distrcits, celebrated the ruling on Twiter calling it a “big win” for voting rights in the state.