Northern Virginia Lawyer provides not only the hope that the Senate redistricting plan can be defeated, but solid legal reasoning why it inevitably will if only patriots in Virginia will stand up for their civil rights. Regardless of the back-room negotiations that will push this horrible and decidedly undemocratic deal through the General Assembly, and no matter how the Governor might tinker or not with this atrocious plan, it cannot stand up to an informed legal challenge from the citizens of Virginia.
District 36 does not have one unique quality that makes it especially offensive. The district begins in Stafford and Prince William counties and meanders up the Potomac and into Fairfax County. Parts of the Featherstone, Rippon, and River Oaks precincts have been carved in such a way that they are accessible to each other only via water. Up in Fairfax County in order to place portions of the Villages and Franconia precincts in District 36 the district narrows as small as one half and three quarters of a mile in two different places. In order to include the Wilton precinct a portion of the district narrows to approximately 1/3 of mile. This district contains so many unnecessary and seemingly gerrymandered portions, it is more likely to warrant a challenge than many of the other meandering districts.
So why should most people care about this atrocity? Many clearly don’t. They think the idea of redistricting is solely a political junkie exercise in political minutiae, and as long as they can vote for or against someone, they’re fine. That is a vastly dangerous misconception. This redistricting plan robs people of the influence they should have over the government that is supposed to represent them.
Nothing congeals political influence more than a unified community demanding something. If they have at least a strong plurality in the legislative district of that community, they likely have at least one fighter in the legislature who knows that his political future depends on doing the bidding of that community. If you can carve up that community across multiple legislative districts, other political influences like campaign contributions from special interests start to outweigh the wishes of the community and suddenly that community has no effective representation. Diluting a community’s voice makes for terrible policy and invites long-term, unaccountable representation.
There is no circumstance whatsoever that warrants approval of these proposed senate districts. No deal can possibly outdo the invitation for corruption and the diminishment of the voter’s voice in this plan. There is no way to explain a favorable vote on this plan, no matter what a legislator receives in return for it. It is an utterly astonishing bald-faced abuse of our Commonwealth, and excuses cannot cover up any complicity for it.
Chaos here means the courts intervene, and they certainly will draw better lines than this. No deal is far better than this deal, even if we have legislators running in existing districts this year, the courts redrawing all the lines, and legislators running again the following year in new districts that actually make some sense. I’ll take that, and all the political risks inherent in it over this deal with the devil any day. We don’t need partisan district lines in Virginia. We just need fair ones.
All it’s going to take is a few patriots to make it happen.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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