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Sunday, July 7, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

SCOTUS Tosses Back Va. Redistricting Challenge

(CN) - The Supreme Court on Monday remanded a case involving Virginia's 2012 redistricting map without a hearing, days after striking down Alabama's similar 2010 redistricting plan as improperly motivated by race.

The U.S high court invalidated Alabama's 2010 redistricting plans based on plaintiffs' claims that lawmakers "packed" black voters into certain districts to dilute their overall impact on elections last week.

On Monday, the high court vacated a federal court's ruling in a similar case in Virginia.

Plaintiffs in the Virginia case claim that the state's 2012 redistricting plan used race as the predominant factor in drawing the borders of its Third Congressional District, creating a highly irregular district that increased its black voting population from 53 to 56 percent.

The Virginia district covered majority-black precincts in Richmond and Hampton Roads, as well as parts of cities of Hampton, Newport News, and Norfolk.

A panel of federal judges struck down the redistricting plan last year in a 2-1 decision. Writing for the majority, U.S. District Judge Allyson Duncan said that "while 'the Constitution does not mandate regularity of district shape,' plaintiffs' circumstantial evidence of the Third Congressional District's irregularities and inconsistencies with respect to the traditional districting criteria described above, coupled with clear statements of legislative intent, supports our conclusion that, in this case, 'traditional districting criteria were subordinated to race.'"

Without comment, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the Eastern District of Virginia "for further consideration in light of Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama."

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