facebook linkedin twitter

Virginia Supreme Court Picks Special Masters to Aid Redistricting Effort

November 20, 2021 by Dan McCue
Virginia Supreme Court Picks Special Masters to Aid Redistricting Effort
(Photo by GeoJango Maps via Unsplash)

RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Supreme Court has selected two “special masters” to assist the court in redrawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts.

In a unanimous decision, the justices selected Sean Trende, a senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics and a visiting scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy think tank, as the successful Republican nominee.

And they selected Bernard Grofman, a professor of political science at the University of California, Irvine, to serve as the Virginia Democrats’ representative in the redistricting effort.

Trende has given expert testimony in a racial gerrymandering case in North Carolina and political gerrymandering cases in multiple states, and was appointed as a Voting Rights Act expert by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.


Grofman, meanwhile, served as special master to the courts in the redrawing of Virginia’s congressional districts in 2015 and House of Delegates districts in 2018.

The Well News has reached out to both for comment on their appointments.

The two special masters now have up to 30 days to work together on new political maps to submit to the court for consideration.


“The Court directs the Special Masters to confer among themselves to propose a single redistricting map for the Virginia House of Delegates, a single redistricting map for the Senate of Virginia, and a single redistricting map for Virginia’s representatives to the United States House of Representatives,” the justices wrote in an order released Friday.

As previously reported in The Well News, the once-a-decade process of redrawing Virginia’s electoral maps is now in the hands of the state Supreme Court after a new 16-member commission created by a constitutional amendment failed to reach agreement on new political maps. 

The justices then asked Democratic and Republican leaders in the Virginia House of Delegates and state Senate to submit three or more qualified nominees without conflicts of interest by Nov. 1.

The court’s final decision on the two map drawers came a week after the justices rejected all three of the Republicans’ nominees and ordered state legislative leaders to nominate new candidates.

In their order to find new nominees, the justices said they didn’t have concerns about any of the candidates’ honesty, but wrote that work one special master nominee did for the Virginia Senate Republican caucus created a conflict. 

The court disqualified that cartographer and the other two map makers, citing concerns about their ability to serve in the role.


It also told the Democrats to submit at least one additional nominee after one of the party’s first picks expressed reservations about participating in the process.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Redistricting

May 23, 2022
by Dan McCue
State Court Approves Controversial CD Map for New York

ALBANY, N.Y. — A state court judge formally approved a controversial new congressional map Friday night, ratifying a map that... Read More

ALBANY, N.Y. — A state court judge formally approved a controversial new congressional map Friday night, ratifying a map that could prove costly to Democrats while forcing two of the state’s most prominent House members to square off against each other in the upcoming primary. Steuben... Read More

May 19, 2022
by Dan McCue
New York’s State of Mind: BAM! BANG! KRUNCH! KAPOW!

NEW YORK — It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In reliably blue New York State, where more than 53%... Read More

NEW YORK — It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In reliably blue New York State, where more than 53% of registered voters identify as Democrats, a newly drawn district map was supposed to serve as a bulwark against Republicans taking control of Congress in January.... Read More

May 19, 2022
by Dan McCue
Missouri Governor Ratifies State’s New Congressional Districts

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday signed a bill formally revising the boundaries of the state’s... Read More

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday signed a bill formally revising the boundaries of the state’s eight congressional districts, ending one of the more bitter standoffs of the entire redistricting “season.” "Today, we signed into law a congressional map that meets our... Read More

May 18, 2022
by Dan McCue
Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Controversial Redistricting Maps

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Republican-drawn congressional map that divides a racially diverse portion... Read More

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a Republican-drawn congressional map that divides a racially diverse portion of the Kansas City metropolitan area, despite concerns the new district lines will dilute the minority vote. As previously reported in The Well News, the lawsuit... Read More

May 11, 2022
by Dan McCue
Florida Judge Declares DeSantis Map Unconstitutional

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida judge declared a congressional district map approved by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis unconstitutional Wednesday because... Read More

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida judge declared a congressional district map approved by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis unconstitutional Wednesday because it intentionally “Diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representative of their choice.” Leon County Circuit Court Judge Layne Smith made his announcement during a video... Read More

May 6, 2022
by Dan McCue
Ohio Redistricting Panel Resubmits Rejected Map to Court

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a strategy, it probably falls into the category of “Maybe they won’t notice.” On Thursday, the... Read More

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a strategy, it probably falls into the category of “Maybe they won’t notice.” On Thursday, the Ohio Redistricting Commission voted 4-2 to resubmit state legislative district maps to the Ohio Supreme Court that the court has already rejected twice, holding them to... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top