The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to delay the process of drawing new districts for at least 11 Virginia House of Delegates seats, rejecting a request for a stay from state Republicans who are contesting the overall effort. A panel of judges from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled last June that the districts had been racially gerrymandered to concentrate black voters and ordered a new map. Most of the affected districts are in the Hampton Roads and Richmond areas. After the General Assembly failed to agree on a redistricting plan last fall, the judges appointed an outside expert to handle it. California professor Bernard Grofman submitted a 131-page report last month outlining options for new boundaries.
Because redrawing the 11 targeted districts will affect those around them, as many as 26 districts could get new lines.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the Eastern District court.
In the meantime, House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) appealed the redistricting to the U.S. Supreme Court, which agreed to take the case.
That hearing will take place sometime in the spring, with the court first considering whether the House Republicans have standing to file the challenge.