Virginia Supreme Court upholds legislative districts in redistricting case

courtThe Supreme Court of Virginia issued a decision in Vesilind v. Virginia State Board of Elections today declining to set aside the ruling of a Richmond Circuit Court that the question of whether 11 state legislative districts were drawn in violation of the Virginia Constitution was “fairly debatable” and the districts therefore should be upheld.

The plaintiffs in the case had argued that the legislature failed to give priority to the Virginia Constitution’s requirement that districts be “compact” and instead subordinated compactness to “discretionary” redistricting criteria, such as protecting incumbents.

Gregory Lucyk, a former Senior Assistant Attorney General and now president of the Board of OneVirginia2021, the advocacy organization backing the lawsuit, said they were “disappointed” with the Court’s decision.

“The Courts and the legislature have never defined the standards for compactness to enable the line drawers to apply the constitutional requirement fairly,” Lucyk said. “This lack of clarity in the law has thwarted the purpose of creating compact legislative districts, which is to provide a meaningful restraint on extreme partisan gerrymandering.”

“The Court’s decision shows how important it is that the citizens take action now to amend the Virginia Constitution in order to provide clear and well-defined standards for drawing legislative districts,” said Lucyk, adding that while the court case did not result in the ruling sought by plaintiffs, “it was successful in educating voters about the harm caused by extreme partisan gerrymandering, and it has generated vigorous bipartisan efforts to reform the redistricting process.”

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press news