The same federal three-judge panel that has twice ruled that Virginia’s congressional map unconstitutionally packs blacks into the 3rd District will now be responsible for remedying the injustice it found. How will the court arrive at a new map for the 2016 elections? “We don’t know,” Loyola Law School Professor Justin Levitt told CQ Roll Call Tuesday. “I think they were really hoping the legislature would do it.” The court had given the General Assembly a Sept. 1 deadline to redraw district lines, and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe had called a special August session to begin that process. But the state Senate failed to agree on a map Monday, when a dispute over a Supreme Court appointee derailed the session. Democrats and one retiring Republican in the state Senate adjourned the session, leaving it up to the court to redraw the lines. It was widely expected that the GOP-controlled General Assembly and the governor wouldn’t be able to come to an agreement, and the court would inherit the responsibility anyway.
Democrats say they have little to lose from the redraw going to the court given how outnumbered they are in the state’s delegation. Republicans currently hold eight of the state’s 11 congressional seats, and Democrats are expected to pick up at least one seat in the redistricting process.
“I have faith in the court doing what it needs to do to uphold the rights of the citizens of Virginia,” said Marc Elias, an attorney for the National Democratic Redistricting Trust who represented the plaintiffs in the suit against the 3rd District lines.
Full Article: Uncertainty Reigns as Court Takes Over Virginia Redistrictin.