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Supreme Court rejects Virginia GOP’s last-ditch attempt to block fair legislative elections

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On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down their decision in Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill, shutting down the Virginia GOP’s last ditch effort to rig the upcoming state legislative election taking place this November.

In 5-4 decision, the justices held that the House of Delegates has no standing to appeal the decision made by the lower court. The vote broke along unusual lines, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writing for a majority with Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch, and Justice Samuel Alito writing a dissent joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh.

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The case stemmed from a challenge to the GOP-drawn House of Delegates legislative map in Virginia, which residents challenged as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. 12 of the 100 districts contained a voting base that was more than 55 percent African-American, raising concerns that lawmakers deliberately crammed as many black voters into as few districts as possible so they could not have as many representatives as their presence in the population.

A district court previously ruled all 12 of the districts unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court in 2017 approved one of them and told the lower court to use a different standard to review the other 11. The district court once again found the remaining 11 unconstitutional, and ordered a new map to be drawn. Democratic state Attorney General Mark Herring refused to defend the GOP’s gerrymander, leading the legislature to hire its own lawyers — which the Supreme Court today ruled was not allowed.

The decision was not altogether surprising, as the new state legislative map is already in place and primaries have already been held. The Supreme Court typically does not intervene in elections halfway through the process, so it is likely the justices would have issued their opinion sooner if they had wanted to rule in favor of the GOP.

The ruling is a huge victory for Virginia Democrats, who will now be competing with a fair map that will have considerably more competitive districts. Democrats only need to swing two seats in the state Senate and House of Delegates to win control of either chamber. Winning both would give them their only legislature in a Southern state, and leave the Minnesota Senate as the only GOP-controlled legislative chamber in a state President Donald Trump lost.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide three more major voting rights cases this term: Rucho v. Common Cause, which concerns a Republican partisan gerrymander in North Carolina, Lamone v Benisek, which concerns a Democratic partisan gerrymander in Maryland, and Department of Commerce v. New York, which will decide whether the Trump administration can interrogate people about citizenship while conducting the 2020 Census.

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2020 Election

GOP ridiculed for hyping Ohio anti-impeachment protest — and only a handful of Trump supporters showed

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The official Twitter of account of the Republican National Committee was buried in mockery after hyping up a video of anti-impeachment protesters in Youngstown, Ohio, where it appears only a handful of people showed up.

According to the tweet, "Ohioans are sick and tired of the Democrats’ impeachment charade. It’s time to STOP THE MADNESS!"

However, in the video from WKBN, which can be seen below, few people chose to show up for the cameras.

As one commenter noted with tongue-in-cheek, "Thought Ohio had a few more people than that."

That was the general consensus in the comments.

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Melania Trump scorched by columnist for standing by president’s Thunberg bullying: ‘Indefensible’

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In a piece for the Washington Post, columnist Karen Tumulty called out first lady Melania Trump for her statement defending her husband's bullying of 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg in a fit of jealousy after she was selected Time Magazine's Person of the Year.

Responding to a statement from the White House that stated, “BeBest is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy,” Tumulty wasn't having it.

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BUSTED: Devin Nunes is hiding how he’s paying for all his frivolous lawsuits — which could land him in more trouble

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On Saturday, the Fresno Bee dived into a lingering question: How does Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) pay for all the lawsuits he is filing against journalists, satirists, and political critics?

"Nunes, R-Tulare, has filed lawsuits against Twitter, anonymous social media users known as Devin Nunes' Cow and Devin Nunes' Mom, a Republican political strategist, media companies, journalists, progressive watchdog groups, a political research firm that worked for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and a retired farmer in Nunes’ own district," noted the Bee.

These lawsuits were mainly filed in Virginia — a state with very loose laws against so-called "SLAPP suits," or meritless lawsuits intended to drown people in legal expenses in retaliation for expressing political opinions. Nunes was assisted in these suits by Steven Biss, a Virginia attorney, and yet except for the suit against the retired farmer, there is no clear record in Nunes' FEC reports of how he paid for the suits.

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