Lawsuit challenging Va. House of Delegates redistricting moves forward

Posted at 12:00 AM, Jan 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-02 18:47:13-05

RICHMOND, Va. – A legal challenge has been brought forward concerning the redistricting of Virginia’s House of Delegate districts. The complaint, filed last week, suggests that there was an ulterior motive to the General Assembly’s redistricting in 2011.

One state leader is encouraging voters to move forward with the challenge.

“I believe the redistricting plan adopted by the General Assembly in 2011 was neither fair nor constitutional,” said David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville. “I have not seen the specific allegations of the suit, but I welcome all efforts to overturn this unconstitutional plan.

“Constituents should choose their representatives rather than the other way around.”

Another politician said that the lawsuit was not a surprise considering the fact that it had its merits.

“Given the three-judge panel’s ruling, it is not surprising that the gerrymandering of the House of Delegates is being challenged,” said Caucus Chair Scott Surovell.  “It is unfortunate that the Federal Courts have to step in again to bring the House of Delegates into compliance with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act, but Virginia has a long history of the ruling class trying to suppress electoral change and protect their power through contorted districts.”

A GOP leader argues that the redistricting of 2011 was fair due to the fact that state leaders did their due diligence during the process.

“The House districts were drawn in accordance with all federal and state law, adopted with bipartisan support after more than a dozen public hearings and committee meetings and pre-approved by President Barack Obama’s Justice Department in accordance with the Voting Rights Act,” said House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford.

“The bipartisan plan was crafted based on publicly-stated legal criteria, and strongly and publicly supported by a majority of African-American members in the House of Delegates,” Howell continued. “There is a strong and clear public record supporting the bipartisan redistricting plan and I am confident it will withstand any legal challenge.”

The districts involved in the lawsuit include the 63rd, 69th, 70th, 71st, 74th, 75th, 77th, 80th, 89th, 90th, 92nd, and 95th.