Virginia Supreme Court Appoints Special Masters for Redistricting

The Virginia Supreme Court has selected Republican nominee Sean Trende and Democratic nominee Bernard Grofman to be the two Special Masters who will work together to draw legislative and congressional map proposals for the court. Due to deep partisan splits, the Virginia Redistricting Commission failed to submit any maps by constitutionally-required deadlines, leaving the task to the Court.

In the order issued Friday, the Court wrote, “Though each was nominated by legislative leaders of a particular political party, the nominees — upon being appointed by this Court as Special Masters — shall serve as officers of the Court in a quasi-judicial capacity. Consequently, the Special Masters shall be neutral and shall not act as advocates or representatives of any political party. By accepting their appointment, the Special Masters warrant that they have no ‘conflicts of interest,’ Code § 30-399(F), that preclude them from prudently exercising independent judgment, dispassionately following the Court’s instructions, or objectively applying the governing decision-making criteria.”

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King William School Board Sends Letter to Governor, Health Officials Asking for End to Mask Mandate

The King William School Board voted four to one to send a letter to Governor Ralph Northam and other top Virginia officials criticizing a mask mandate in schools.

“We believe that Senate Bill 1303 passed by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Northam is unconstitutional. In its current form, this law oversteps the authority of both the General Assembly and the governor by encroaching on the authority granted to school boards by the Constitution of Virginia. This law is just one of many recent examples of government overreach that infringes upon our ability to fulfill our duties and make local decisions for our community,” the letter states.

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Lawsuit Accuses Delegate Michael Mullin of Violating Separation of Powers

Delegate Michael Mullin (D-Newport News) is accused of violating the separation of powers by serving as an attorney in cases with justices he appoints. The lawsuit asks the court to “disqualify any judge(s) subject to review or reappointment” by Mullin, and to remove Mullin from prosecution of the case.

The suit contends that Mullin’s positions as both a Delegate in the House and an assistant attorney violates Articles III and IV of the Constitution of Virginia.

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Lawsuit Filed Over Ballot Language in Ongoing Battle Over Amendment 1 Redistricting

Virginia Lieutenant Governor candidate Paul Goldman filed a lawsuit Thursday against the State Board of Elections in the ongoing controversy over Amendment 1 redistricting. The suit says that the ballot question on the amendment uses misleading language to unfairly skew voter perception.

Goldman says people will assume they have a fair summary before them. However, he argues this is not the case.

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