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Gerrymandering Is OK If Parties Agree How To Do It

By Greg L | 29 April 2011 | Virginia Politics, Prince William County | 7 Comments

The General Assembly has agreed to a new Senate redistricting map and the Governor has pledged to sign it.  For some not-so-evident reason, this map is supposedly preferable to the previous plan that was vetoed by the Governor although it is only superficially changed from the plan the governor decried as violating the federal and state constitutions, as well as the voting rights act.  While bizarrely-shaped districts were unlawful before, now they’re fine.  Folks, this is litigation bait of the highest order.

The new proposed 28th district, for example, stretches from Bull Run Mountain all the way to Westmoreland State Park and at one points is only a few hundred feet wide where Rt. 215 crosses into Fauquier County.  The 29th district inkblot that was so egregious to RPV a few weeks ago is unchanged, snaking from Stonewall Golf Club to Manassas Park and then to Dumfries.  Traversing the proposed 36th District still requires a boat as it meanders from Mount Vernon up the Potomac River towards Widewater State Park in Stafford County.   The 37th District picks up a slice of Prince William County in Yorkshire along Rt. 28 nearly up to the Manassas Park city line that puts this portion of a Prince William County precinct in with Lorton.  There’s so much that hasn’t been fixed in this plan it’ll make your head spin.

But somehow, faced with the possibility of the courts taking over, what was incomparably bad and illegal is now considered if not wonderful at least acceptable and the Governor has pledged to not even bother trying to amend this mess.  Principle be damned, let’s just get this thing done seems to be the order of the day, and Virginians are losing their civil right to equal representation in their legislature in the process.

Dick Saslaw might have blinked here, but everyone else involved in the process has abandoned their principles in order to gain a temporary political advantage that should last only until the right legal filing is made to throw this disaster out.  When a court eventually rules that this abomination is unconstitutional I hope the final order commands every legislator and elected official in Virginia to read the final order.  They need to understand how badly they have misrepresented their constituents here, even if there’s little chance constituents will care enough to hold them accountable for yet another erosion of their liberty.

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  1. James Young said on 29 Apr 2011 at 9:06 am:
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    Whatever else can be said of this plan, this much is true for Prince William County: “WE WAS SCREWED!”

  2. Robert L. Duecaster said on 29 Apr 2011 at 3:17 pm:
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    “When a court eventually rules that this abomination is unconstitutional . . . .”

    My dollar to your hole in a donut says the courts will uphold the plan. It may be an abomination, but the courts have put their blessings on worse abominations. Like sex (if you can call it that) between men.

  3. pprados said on 29 Apr 2011 at 5:13 pm:
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    I agree wholeheartedly with your headline.

    RLD: The real question is not whether the Courts will find the Senate plan unconstitutional, but rather, will anyone with sufficiently deep pockets still be willing to challenge the plan. There may be no litigation at all given the compromise.

    Previous Virginia challenges that had any chance of success all involved representatives of the party out of power. In this instance all we have are a handful of Republican Senators who still disagree with the plan, although judging by the names we are in good company.

    PWC was still screwed.

  4. O. P. Ditch said on 30 Apr 2011 at 8:42 am:
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    Where is the new map link? I can’t find the proposed one by going to this link. What am I missing? can someone give me a link to the one that McDonnell says he will sign?

  5. O. P. Ditch said on 30 Apr 2011 at 8:55 am:
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    Ok, I found it.

  6. Charles said on 30 Apr 2011 at 9:44 am:
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    I’m still in District 28, which still puts me 2 hours from some of the people who supposedly care about the same things I do.

    It’s nice to see that most of the republican senate mambers weren’t really concerned with the voters, but rather with preserving their own elections.

    What we needed was a law requiring the two maps to be voted on individually, so the house boundaries weren’t held hostage to the Senate.

    Then we needed to let a court draw the senate lines — they couldn’t have done worse.

    I guess this is what happens when a party that has won only about 40% of the votes in the last two elections thinks they are entitled to 55% of the senate seats.

    If they acheive their real goal (25 seats, or over 60%), I calculate that the average republican win in the 15 republican seats would be over 75% of the vote, while the democrats would win with about 50.1% of the vote. They have worked hard to disenfranchise republicans. If someone tried to jam blacks together like they did republicans, there would be a national outcry.

  7. Isophorone said on 1 May 2011 at 3:20 pm:
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    I was wondering who exactly would litigate. With any luck, Republicans win the State Senate and re-redraw the districts for 2015. I was told that this is legal, anyway.

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