Republicans’ request to pause redistricting process denied

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)
The Virginia House of Delegates. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

A panel of federal judges in Richmond denied a second request to delay work on a remedial redistricting plan by the Republican majority in the House of Delegates.

The case is pending a review by the Supreme Court, which agreed to hear an appeal last month.

In a terse order published Friday afternoon, the judges cited the reasoning they offered in response to an earlier request for a stay the House majority made upon initially filing the appeal to the Supreme Court.

“Delaying construction of a remedial plan until after the conclusion of Supreme Court review likely would result in the 2019 elections, the last election cycle before the 2020 census, proceeding under unconstitutional districts,” the order read. “Accordingly, the risk that a stay wholly would deprive the plaintiffs of a remedy significantly outweighs the inconvenience and any other detriments.”

The contested districts were originally approved by Republicans and Democrats in 2011. In June, the court, following a legal challenge, ruled that lawmakers illegally packed black voters into the districts, diluting their voting strength.

UPDATE: The Richmond Times-Dispatch has the court-appointed special master’s proposal for new districts here.

Bernard Grofman, a political science professor at the University of California-Irvine, filed his 131-page report late Friday afternoon. The proposal offers “the court several options for redrawing district lines in the Richmond, Petersburg and Hampton Roads areas,” Graham Moomaw reports.