Senate Democrats are asking the Virginia Supreme Court to dismiss three Republican-nominated special master redistribution candidates on Nov. 1, accusing them of having “disqualifying conflicts of interest.”
“We urge the court to reject the candidates of minority leaders and ask them to resubmit new impartial candidates. We don’t send this letter lightly, but these three candidates cannot legally serve and their mere appointment undermines public confidence in these critics, in the past. a decade to redraw Virginia’s electoral maps, ”Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw wrote to the High Court clerk on Monday.
A constitutional amendment approved by voters last year called for a bipartisan Virginia Redistribution Commission to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts with the new census data. The effort ended in a partisan deadlock last month, and under the amendment, the job was turned over to the Virginia Supreme Court.
The High Court asked the leaders of both parties in the House of Delegates and the Senate to appoint three qualified special masters – from which the court would choose two – to assist the judges. Saslaw’s letter argues that Democratic candidates have academic backgrounds and experience as special redistributing masters in Virginia and elsewhere, unlike Republican candidates.
In response, Jeff Ryer, spokesperson for the Senate Republican Caucus, wrote in an email to the Richmond Times-Dispatch that “the Democratic candidates for the special masters are all far-left academics with a well-established track record of consider one and only one criterion when it comes to drawing constituency boundaries: what will benefit Democrats the most. These desperate and brazenly transparent efforts by Senate Democrats – who are responsible for the current tortured lines of Senate constituencies – to influence and lead the Supreme Court of Virginia are inappropriate, outrageous and outrageous. “