A panel of three federal judges ruled Thursday that the 12 House of Delegates districts that Democrats challenged in federal court are constitutional, giving Republicans a win for now in Virginia’s fraught political map-making battle. The 2-to-1 ruling comes four months after a separate three-judge panel sided with Democrats in a similar case centered on the state’s redistricting of its congressional map four years ago. The contrary rulings ensure that the redistricting battle in Virginia will continue for some time. Democrats on the losing side Thursday said they were likely to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, as Republicans already have in the case decided against them in June.
“We are reviewing the court’s decision and expect to appeal,” said Marc E. Elias, a Washington lawyer who brought both Virginia cases as well as similar ones around the country. Elias is general counsel to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign and worked on the 2013 campaign of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D).
House Speaker Willliam J. Howell (R-Stafford) cheered the decision and blasted what he described as a “politically motivated lawsuit, funded by liberal billionaires.”