Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates have formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and block a lower court’s efforts to redraw the House map for the 2019 elections. In a court filing released Thursday, House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, asked the Supreme Court to grant an emergency stay that would halt a lower court’s efforts to enact a new House map to fix 11 districts found to be racially gerrymandered. Republicans are appealing the ruling, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear new arguments in the case early next year. Because the lower court could be overturned, Cox said, putting a new map in place would “cause confusion” as candidates and voters prepare for legislative primaries next June.
“It makes no sense to implement a remedial map given that the Supreme Court may uphold the legislatively-enacted map in its entirety or even just in part,” Cox said in a news release. “If the Supreme Court upholds even just one House district, the entire process undertaken by the lower court will have to start over.”
Democrats have accused Republicans of stalling for time, and have urged the courts to proceed with the creation of a map that would correct the existing map’s constitutional flaws.