An important victory for voting rights in Virginia — Republican gerrymandering turned back

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a challenge to a judge-drawn voting map that might help Democrats pick up a seat from Virginia in the U.S. House.

The unanimous ruling Monday said the state’s Republican congressional delegation couldn’t press an appeal seeking to reinstate an earlier map drawn by the state legislature. That map helped Republicans capture eight of Virginia’s 11 U.S. congressional districts in the 2012 and 2014 elections.

In ordering the new map, a lower court said race played too much of a role when the legislature drew the boundaries for the 3rd District, held by Democratic Representative Bobby Scott. Mapmakers consolidated black, mostly Democratic voters into Scott’s district so that it stretched from north of Richmond southeast to Norfolk, about 100 miles away. That improved Republican prospects in neighboring districts.

Virginia’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring didn’t appeal that ruling, but the state’s Republican representatives took the matter to the Supreme Court.

NSS.

The case is part of the fallout from a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act. The ruling undercut the requirement that all or parts of 15 states get federal approval before changing their voting rules.

Those fifteen states have a record of bigotry, a history of preventing minority voters from having a voice. In states like Virginia, Republicans have added an additional chunk of cowardice, fear of democracy, trying to keep young people – especially college students – from voting.

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