Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

By any means necessary

Posted by Charles II on January 21, 2013

Someone might start thinking that the GOP doesn’t believe in democracy:

The state Senate is split 20-20 between Republicans and Democrats. On Monday, while state Sen. Henry Marsh (D) — a 79-year-old civil rights veteran — was reportedly in Washington to attend President Obama’s second inaugural, GOP senators forced through a mid-term redistricting plan that Democrats say will make it easier for Republicans to gain a majority.

With Marsh’s absence, Senate Republicans in Richmond had one more vote than Senate Democrats and could push the measure through. The new redistricting map revises the districts created under the 2011 map and would take effect before the next state Senate elections in Virginia and would redraw district lines to maximize the number of safe GOP seats.

They then, on Martin Luther King Day, adjourned to honor the memory of Stonewall Jackson.

Michael Lind was right in calling conservatives the ideological heirs of Lenin.

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3 Responses to “By any means necessary”

  1. They screwed up, per lowkell at Blue Virginia (emphases mine):

    Maybe it’s not constitutional after all… (4.00 / 2)
    The following is what I’m hearing:

    First of all, there’s no such thing as “technical adjustment” redistricting. It’s either redistricting, which this would be, or it isn’t, with actual people moved from one district to another. That means this move by Virginia’s Senate Republicans raises fundamental constitutional issues.

    Second, the Virginia constitution clearly says that redistricting will be done in 2011 and every 10 years thereafter. It does NOT authorize redistricting in other years.

    Third, the Virginia constitution does not appear to contemplate re-redistricting in other years because it does not address when any such changes would take effect. The constitution defines when “the decennial reapportionment law” takes effect, what district boundaries are to exist until the next elections, and how vacancies would be filled, but it makes no such references regarding re-redistricting in other years.

    Fourth, this issue was addressed by a Richmond Circuit Court judge just last year. The judge stated that the language in the constitution limits the authority of the General Assembly to redistrict to 2011 and every ten years thereafter, and does not allow subsequent re-redistricting, which is what this bill would do.

    Fifth, the Colorado Supreme Court in late 2003 ruled that a redistricting law passed that year in that state was unconstitutional under a similar provision in the Colorado constitution. That ruling was made even though 1) it could be argued that the Colorado language is more ambiguous than the Virginia Constitution; and 2) it was not a legislative re-redistricting because the Colorado legislature had failed to pass a bill in 2001 or 2002. Because of that, the redistricting had been done by the Court. There was not a single dissent on the Colorado Supreme Court on the issue of whether the legislature could redo its redistricting. Two justices dissented, but their dissent was based on wanting to have a hearing on the issue of whether the legislature should be granted an exception to the prohibition on re-redistricting because the approved plan was developed by the judiciary rather than the legislature.

    Sixth, this bill changes the racial and ethnic percentages and the partisan distribution in districts. The changes to the 47 districts may vary, but they nonetheless exist, and could draw tighter Voting Rights Act scrutiny where they are reducing the effective power of African-Americans and others in districts.

    Three things are very different:

    P.S. Also note that the Virginia constitution was amended in 2004 with substantive changes regarding redistricting, making it very clear when this can be done.

    More on this later. Suffice to say that the VA GOP Senate didn’t warn fellow Republican Governor McDonnell that they were attempting this stupid stunt, and it’s really ticked him off.

    • Charles II said

      I hope you’re right. I thought re-districting could only follow the census– right up until the day Texas Republicans seized power by redistricting almost immediately after the decennial re-districting.

      Republicans are desperate to hang onto power. This and the re-allocation of electoral votes make it clear they will stop at nothing.

      • Phoenix Woman said

        The fact that there is already a circuit court decision upholding the view that the state constitution only allows for decennial redistricting is a good sign.

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