Byline: Derek Hawkins

United States Supreme Court

Case Name: Virginia House of Delegates, et al. v. Golden Bethune-Hill, et al.

Case No.: 18-281

Focus: Standing

The Court resolves in this opinion a question of standing to appeal. In 2011, after the 2010 census, Virginia redrew legislative districts for the State's Senate and House of Delegates. Voters in 12 of the impacted House districts sued two Virginia state agencies and four election officials (collectively, State Defendants) charging that the redrawn districts were racially gerrymandered in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. The Virginia House of Delegates and its Speaker (collectively, the House) intervened as defendants and carried the laboring oar in urging the constitutionality of the challenged districts at a bench trial, see Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 141 F. Supp. 3d 505 (ED Va. 2015), on appeal to this Court, see Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 580 U. S. ___ (2017), and at a second bench trial. In June 2018, after the second bench trial, a three-judge District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, dividing 2 to 1, held that in 11 of the districts "the [S]tate ha[d] [unconstitutionally] sorted voters . . . based on the color of their skin." Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Bd. of Elections, 326 F. Supp. 3d 128, 180 (2018). The court therefore enjoined Virginia "from conducting any elections . . . for the office of Delegate . . . in the Challenged Districts until a new redistricting plan is adopted." Id., at 227. Recognizing the General Assembly's "primary jurisdiction" over redistricting, the District Court gave the General Assembly approximately four months to "adop[t] a new redistricting plan that eliminate[d] the constitutional infirmity." Ibid.

A few weeks after the three-judge District Court's ruling, Virginia's Attorney General announced...

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