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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. Mar 18, 2019
Tr.Aud.
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.
Dec 20 2018Response to application from respondents Virginia State Board of Elections, et al. filed.
Dec 20 2018Response to application from respondents Golden Bethune Hill, et al. filed.
Dec 21 2018Reply of applicant Virginia House of Delegates, et al. filed.
Dec 26 2018Blanket Consent filed by Petitioner, Virginia House of Delegates, et al.
Dec 28 2018Joint appendix filed (9 volumes). (Statement of costs received)
Dec 28 2018Brief of appellants Virginia House of Delegates, et al. filed.
Jan 04 2019Brief amicus curiae of United States in support of neither party filed.
Jan 04 2019Brief amici curiae of Lee Chatfield, in His Official Capacity as Speaker-Elect of The Michigan House of Representatives, et al. filed.
Jan 04 2019Brief amici curiae of American Legislative Exchange Council, et al. filed.
Jan 04 2019Brief amicus curiae of Criminal Justice Legal Foundation filed.
Jan 08 2019Application (18A629) referred to the Court.
Jan 08 2019Application (18A629) denied by the Court.
Jan 25 2019SET FOR ARGUMENT on Monday, March 18, 2019
Jan 28 2019Brief of appellees Golden Bethune-Hill, et al. filed.
Jan 28 2019Brief of State Appellees filed.
Jan 29 2019Blanket Consent filed by appellees Bethune-Hill, et al.
Jan 31 2019Joint motion for divided argument filed by appellees.
Feb 01 2019Motion of the Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument filed.
Feb 04 2019Brief amicus curiae of The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed.
Feb 14 2019CIRCULATED
Feb 19 2019Motion of the Solicitor General for leave to participate in oral argument as amicus curiae and for divided argument GRANTED.
Feb 19 2019Joint motion of appellees for enlargement of time for oral argument and for divided argument GRANTED in part, and the time is divided as follows: 25 minutes for appellants, 10 minutes for the Solicitor General as amicus curiae, 10 minutes for appellees Virginia State Board of Elections, et al., and 15 minutes for appellees Golden Bethune-Hill, et al.
Feb 21 2019Record requested from the U.S.D.C. Eastern Dist. of VA.
Feb 27 2019Reply of appellants Virginia House of Delegates, et al. filed. (Distributed)
Feb 28 2019The record received from U.S.D.C. Eastern Dist. of Virginia. (1 Envelop and 3 Boxes).
Mar 18 2019Argued. For appellants: Paul D. Clement, Washington, D. C. For United States, as amicus curiae: Morgan L. Ratner, Assistant to the Solicitor General, Department of Justice, Washington, D. C. For appellees Virginia State Board of Elections, et al.: Toby J. Heytens, Solicitor General of Virginia, Richmond, Va. For appellees Golden Bethune-Hill, et al.: Marc E. Elias, Washington, D. C.
 
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