Attorneys have billed Virginia taxpayers more than $1 million so far in just one of the three lawsuits still pending over the state’s election districts and voting laws. The bulk of that hasn’t been paid yet, because it stems from an unfinished battle over the state’s 3rd Congressional District lines. A federal court has awarded nearly $790,000 in attorneys fees and other costs to the plaintiffs in that case, but congressional leaders defending the lines hope the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn the underlying decision on appeal. The high court has already sent this case back down once, though, and the three-judge panel assigned to the case has twice ruled the lines unconstitutional. The Virginia General Assembly is set to go into special session Monday with a court-imposed Sept. 1 deadline to redraw the state’s congressional map.
That suit may be winding down, but the fight over voting in Virginia heading into the 2016 presidential elections is in full swing, and it will continue to bring legal bills for state taxpayers.
The state has paid more than $544,000 so far in a separate lawsuit over House of Delegates districts. The court has heard oral arguments in that case, but the federal judicial panel hasn’t decided yet whether those districts — including two on the Peninsula — should be redrawn.