Leahy: U.S. District Court Judge Wants Mark Herring To ‘Do His Job’ in Redistricting Case

Never mind whatever seething hot takes the various gubernatorial campaign staffers are unleashing at one another on Twitter. Put aside the Pinocchio-laden TV ads saturating the airwaves. It’s U.S. District Court Judge David Novak who has given us the most accurate picture of Virginia politics right now.

In a hearing on whether a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Nov. 2 House of Delegates elections can proceed, Novak said Attorney General Mark R. Herring’s office could help clarify and maybe even settle matters — if Herring did his job.

As the Virginia Mercury’s Ned Oliver reported, Novak wants Herring to answer Del. Lee J. Carter’s (D-Manassas) April 26 request for a formal opinion “with regard to the constitutionality of the 2021 elections for the House of Delegates being conducted under electoral districts established in 2011.”

Herring has not answered Carter, and attorneys from Herring’s office reportedly “bristled at Novak’s request [that Herring “do his job”], repeatedly calling it ‘neither here nor there.’ ”

That’s interesting, considering state law on attorney general opinions is unambiguous: “The Attorney General shall give his advice and render official advisory opinions in writing only when requested in writing so to do by one of the following: the Governor; a member of the General Assembly” and other state officials.

But perhaps Herring’s office has redefined “shall” from an “imperative command” to merely a guideline.

But back to the idea of doing his job.

Herring’s office got another rebuke from Novak when he gave attorneys three days to file additional briefs on “elements dealing with the court’s jurisdiction.” Attorneys for the state protested at the short deadline. As Oliver reported, Novak said he “wouldn’t be in this position if you had done your job the first time.”

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