March 15, 2014
The Virginia Supreme Court Friday upheld the state legislative redistricting plan crafted by the General Assembly's Republican majority last year.
Democrats had challenged the plan, claiming it was unconstitutional.
The court ruled unanimously that the plan did NOT violate constitutional standards for making districts compact and did not amount to racial gerrymandering.
Salem Circuit Judge Richard Pattisall ruled for the Democrats, claiming the legislature illegally packed black voters into a few black-majority districts to weaken their influence in adjoining white-majority districts.
He nullified new districts for the House of Delegates and state Senate, but the Supreme Court put the ruling on hold while the case was appealed.
The state argued that legislature gave NO greater weight to race than to factors such as partisan considerations and incumbent protection.
Republicans gained 12 seats in the House in elections held in the new districts last November. The Senate has not yet held elections in the new districts.