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Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
18-281 E.D. Va. TBD TBD TBD TBD OT 2018

Issues: (1) Whether the district court conducted a proper “holistic” analysis of the majority-minority Virginia House of Delegates districts under the prior decision in this case, Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections, even though it ignored a host of evidence, including the overwhelming majority of district lines, which were carried over unchanged from the prior map; the geographic location of population disparities, which imposed severe redistricting constraints and directly impacted which voters were moved into and out of the majority-minority districts; and the degree of constraint the House’s Voting Rights Act compliance goals imposed in implementation, which was minimal; (2) whether the Bethune-Hill “predominance” test is satisfied merely by a lengthy description of ordinary Voting Rights Act compliance measures; (3) whether the district court erred in relying on expert analysis it previously rejected as unreliable and irrelevant and expert analysis that lacked any objective or coherent methodology; (4) whether the district court committed clear error in ignoring the entirety of the house’s evidentiary presentation under the guise of credibility determinations unsupported by the record and predicated on expert testimony that should not have been credited or even admitted; (5) whether Virginia’s choice to draw 11 “safe” majority-minority districts of around or above 55 percent black voting-age population (“BVAP”) was narrowly tailored in light of the discretion the Voting Rights Act afforded covered jurisdictions to “choose to create a certain number of ‘safe’ districts, in which it is highly likely that minority voters will be able to elect the candidate of their choice,” under Georgia v. Ashcroft, or the requirement the Voting Rights Act, as amended, imposed on covered jurisdictions “to prove the absence of racially polarized voting” to justify BVAP reductions towards or below 50 percent BVAP; (6) whether the district court erred in ignoring the district-specific evidence before the house in 2011 justifying safe districts at or above 55 percent BVAP; and (7) whether appellants have standing to bring this appeal.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

DateProceedings and Orders (key to color coding)
Sep 04 2018Statement as to jurisdiction filed. (Response due October 9, 2018)
Oct 09 2018Motion to dismiss filed by State Appellees'.
Oct 09 2018Motion to dismiss or affirm filed by appellees Golden Bethune-Hill, et al.
Oct 23 2018Opposition to appellees' motions to dismiss or affirm from appellants Virginia House of Delegates, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Oct 24 2018DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 11/9/2018.
Nov 13 2018Further consideration of the question of jurisdiction is POSTPONED to the hearing of the case on the merits. In addition to the questions presented by the jurisdictional statement, the parties are directed to fully brief the following question: Whether appellants have standing to bring this appeal.
Dec 13 2018Application (18A629) for a stay pending appeal, submitted to The Chief Justice.
Dec 14 2018Response to application (18A629) requested by The Chief Justice, due Thursday, December 20, 2018, by noon ET.
Term Snapshot