Leahy: A Dishonest End to One Person, One Vote in Virginia

And so we have come to the low, dishonest end of the long court fight over the constitutionality of Virginia’s 2021 House of Delegates elections.

U.S. District Court Judge David. J. Novak ruled that the plaintiffs in the second lawsuit seeking to compel House of Delegates elections this November lacked standing to sue (never mind the 40-year-old precedent in Cosner v. Dalton) and that his court just didn’t have the power to require new elections because, among other things, “the global pandemic delayed the reapportionment process just as it disrupted nearly every aspect of American life.”

Which is a bit like saying the dog ate the redistricting process, and we all know how darned hard it is to control that dog, right? Right?

Were Novak at all interested in doing his job, he could have reached this conclusion more than a year ago, saving everyone a lot of time, effort and money.

But Novak preferred to blame others for his own major role in the dithering. Not without reason, of course. Dithering was the major legal strategy from the beginning of this case more than a year ago.

Former attorney general Mark R. Herring (D) rightly came in for a round of criticism for his office’s rope-a-dope legal strategy — one Novak could have nipped in the bud, but refused to for, uh, reasons. Others could have gotten similar treatment for their studied public silence on the case — from ex-House speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) to ex-governor Ralph Northam (D) to any of the Democratic pols who will say just about anything on social media but couldn’t find a public word to say about this lawsuit.

There’s much more judicial hand waving in Novak’s opinion. If one believes in the principle of one person, one vote, and that the convenience of politicians and governments should always take a back seat to voters’ rights and privileges, then Novak’s opinion will not only disappoint but also infuriate.

Continue reading here.

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