The most recent action in Virginia’s ongoing redistricting saga involves a motion to make the proposed remedial plans available on a publicly accessible website. Perhaps ironically, it is the Defendants (Alcorn) suggesting that the proposals be posted online, while the Plaintiffs (Personhuballah) argues that general public input is not necessary or appropriate. Almost one year ago (October 7, 2014), a U.S. District Court (the Court) ordered that Virginia adopt a new redistricting plan before the next election of U.S. Representatives. It ordered the State’s General Assembly to remedy the constitutional violations found by the court. After the United States Supreme Court vacated that judgment and remanded the case in March of this year, the Court again ordered the General Assembly to draw and adopt new districts by September 1, 2015.
When the General Assembly failed to meet the deadline, the Court ordered the parties to propose remedial plans of their own by September 18. All interested non-parties were invited to do the same. In total, 10 proposals were submitted. Although the court made clear that the parties and non-parties who submitted proposed remedial plans would have the opportunity to view and respond to the plans submitted, it made no mention of public comment generally. The Defendants are now requesting authorization from the Court to post those proposed remedial plans on the State’s Division of Legislative Services website (which is accessible to the public) and the Plaintiffs are strongly opposing the motion. Why?