Thursday, January 07, 2016

Federal Judges Change Gerymandered Virginia Congressional Districts

Change in Districts - watch the boundaries shift
As noted in prior posts, I once lived in the 2nd Virginia Congressional District until Republicans gerrymandered Virginia's congressional districts to lump blacks - and in my case white liberal neighborhoods - into a few districts in order to protect incumbent Republicans.  Thus, I suddenly found myself in the 3rd District rather than the 2nd District.  Now, after federal lawsuits were filed challenging the GOP's grotesque district boundaries, a panel of federal court judges has redrawn the boundaries for the 3rd congressional district and those surrounding it, all of which are held by Republicans.  Will it change results in congressional races this November?  There's no guarantee, but if the Republicans win, their margins may be diminished. The district map above changes to show the new, compact and much more contiguous districts. Here are highlights from the Virginian Pilot

A federal court ordered a congressional redistricting Thursday that reassigned millions of voters and changed the racial and political makeup of districts served by Reps. Bobby Scott and Randy Forbes.

Federal judges in Richmond ordered state officials to use the new boundaries for this fall’s congressional elections.

While the changes were ordered in time for eligible candidates to file to run, the judges' order could be stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to hear opposition arguments from lawyers for the state's eight Republican members of Congress.

Unless the high court halts the order, the 3rd District, represented by Scott, will lose its black majority, shrinking from 56 percent black to 45 percent. At the same time, the white majority in Forbes' 4th District shrinks from 63 percent to 51 percent, giving black voters more clout.

The 3rd, which currently stretches from Newport News to Richmond, will become more centralized in Hampton Roads. It will take in all or part the cities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, Suffolk, Hampton and Newport News and Isle of Wight County. Scott lives in Newport News.

The 4th District continues to represent Chesapeake, Forbes' hometown, but loses part of Suffolk and Isle of Wight County. The cities of Richmond and Petersburg - both with significant black populations - had been part of Scott's district but will move to Forbes' district.

The 2nd's population remains concentrated in Virginia Beach but the district's territory has been expanded to include the Williamsburg, York County, part of James City County and nearby communities. It also loses a chunk of its Newport News precincts.
I suspect that Randy Forbes is not trilled that he might actually have to strive to represent all voters in his district and not just the Christofascists and white supremacists.

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