by Davis Walsh
Virginia’s House of Delegates appears ready to push Congressional redistricting to 2012, when Republicans will effectively control both the Commonwealth’s House and Senate. But such an action may be impermissible because Virginia’s Constitution, Article II, Section 6, mandates redistricting be completed in 2011, but the Constitution prescribes no express penalties for the failure to adopt a plan in 2011. The question that this situation presents is whether the General Assembly can ignore a provision of the Commonwealth’s Constitution when that provision includes no penalties.
Earlier this year, the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican House of Delegates agreed on state General Assembly redistricting, but each house passed competing plans for Congressional redistricting. The Republican House of Delegates plan would keep the Commonwealth’s split of eight Republicans and three Democrats in Congress. The Democratic Senate’s plan would create a new minority influence district, which would provide minorities with a substantial number of voters in a district but not a majority. Continue reading