Breaking:Three-Judge Federal Court, on 2-1 Vote on Remand from Supreme Court, Finds 11 Virginia State House Districts Unconstitutional Racial Gerrymanders

You can find the opinions here.

After holding a bench trial in 2015, this Court issued a divided opinion upholding the redistricting plan. See Bethune-Hill v. Va. State Bd. of Elections, 141 F. Supp. 3d 505 (E.D. Va. 2015). The United States Supreme Court affirmed this Court’s decision regarding one district, but remanded for reconsideration of the question whether race was used as the predominant factor in drawing the 11 remaining districts. See Bethune-Hill v. Va. State Bd. of Elections, 137 S. Ct. 788 (2017). After a second trial, and upon our consideration of the evidence presented at both trials, we hold that the plaintiffs have shown through telling direct and circumstantial evidence that race predominated over traditional districting factors in the construction of the 11 remaining challenged districts. We further hold that the intervenors have not satisfied their burden to show that the legislature’s use of race was narrowly tailored to achieve the compelling state interest of compliance with Section 5 of the VRA, 52 U.S.C. § 10304.

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