Virginia GOP asks Supreme Court to delay redistricting deadline: report

Republicans in Virginia’s General Assembly are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to delay a lower court’s requirement that it redraw state legislative district lines by October.

The Washington Post reported Monday that state GOP lawmakers requested an appeal, arguing that a federal court reached an incorrect conclusion regarding Virginia’s legislative districts.

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The request comes after judges for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in June that the state’s 11 House of Delegates districts were gerrymandered along racial lines. The 2-to-1 ruling also came with an order for lawmakers to redraw lines for the state’s House districts by Oct. 30.

“Overwhelming evidence in this case shows that, contrary to this constitutional mandate, the state has sorted voters into districts based on the color of their skin,” Judge Barbara Milano Keenan wrote in last month’s majority opinion.

House Speaker M. Kirkland Cox (R) and other GOP leaders on Monday filed a motion to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the district court ignored “objective evidence of neutral redistricting decisions.”

The motion said the lower court discarded “first-hand testimony…in favor of theoretical and post-hoc expert opinions about motive.” GOP lawmakers also said that redrawing the map will “result in voter confusion and disruption to the primary process,” according to The Post.

The boundaries in question were drawn after the 2010 Census, at a time when the GOP held the House and Democrats controlled the Senate, the Post reported. Republicans saw their 66-34 majority in the state House narrow to 51-49 last year.

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