Between the Lines: Virginia Court Dismisses Challenge to Map

Posted February 28, 2012 at 11:08am

Virginia is one step away from completing redistricting after the Richmond Circuit Court on Monday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Legislature-drawn Congressional map.

The lawsuit argued that the state Legislature, which Republicans won complete control of in November’s state elections, was constitutionally mandated to complete redistricting in 2011. A similar lawsuit filed in federal court was dismissed Feb. 10.

The map, which gives Republicans a strong opportunity to keep its 8-3 hold on the 11-seat delegation, still awaits preclearance from the Justice Department or a federal court to comply with the Voting Rights Act.

“Now that the challenges to the General Assembly’s power to draw new congressional lines have all been dismissed, we will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Justice to obtain pre-clearance of the lines under the Voting Rights Act so that the congressional primaries and the general elections can occur with as little confusion and disruption as possible,” Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement.

On Feb. 9, the state House unanimously passed an emergency bill that would push back the primary date from June 12 to Aug. 7 if the Justice Department does not approve the map by April 3. The bill has not moved out of committee in the state Senate.