November 27, 2021

Virginia Supreme Court extends deadline for redistricting map drawer nominations

2 min read

Republicans and Democrats have until Wednesday to provide the Virginia Supreme Court with their nominees to redraw the state’s district maps after justices ordered a deadline extension.

The court extended the original Monday deadline until 5 p.m. Wednesday after justices rejected all three of the Republican special master nominees and one of the three Democratic nominees. The court must appoint a special master to redraw the congressional lines and the state legislative lines after Republicans and Democrats in the newly established bipartisan redistricting commission failed to reach an agreement on any maps.

House and Senate Republican leadership had requested the extension after all of their nominees were rejected. They also asked the court for a teleconference to discuss special master qualifications to ensure the next round of nominees are not rejected, but the court denied the request for a conference.

“We would like to request a telephonic status conference with the Court to discuss special master qualifications at the Court’s earliest opportunity,” Jason Torchinsky, a lawyer for the House and Senate Republicans, said in an email to the court. “My clients would like to avoid having their second round of nominations followed by subsequent disqualification motions that could lead to a third round of required nominations.”

In a short two-sentence order from the court, the justices granted the extension and denied the teleconference without providing their reasons for either decision.

Leadership from both parties asked the court to reject the nominees from the opposing party, arguing that the nominees were partisan and biased.

In previous years, House and Senate lawmakers would redraw the maps after the census numbers came out, but a 2020 referendum established a bipartisan redistricting commission, which was designed to create the new lines without partisan bias. After several meetings between Republican and Democratic members of the commission, most motions failed along party lines and the commission leadership eventually gave up and adjourned.

Without any map proposals passing the commission, the task now falls on the supreme court.

This article was originally posted on Virginia Supreme Court extends deadline for redistricting map drawer nominations

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