Virginia Supreme Court Redistricting Map Drafts Shake Up Incumbents

The Virginia Supreme Court’s Special Masters released their first redistricting map proposals Tuesday, receiving mixed reactions over what will be a major shakeup for Virginia incumbents if final drafts are similar to the proposals.

The Court chose Republican-nominated Sean Trende and Democratic-nominated Bernard Grofman to draw the maps.

“These maps reflect a true joint effort on our part. We agreed on almost all issues initially, and the few issues on which we initially disagreed were resolved by amicable discussion,” the Special Masters wrote in a memo. “[W]e took seriously the Court’s command that, although we were nominated by the political parties, we would behave in ‘an apolitical and nonpartisan manner.’ Our duty is owed not to the parties that nominated us, but rather to the Court that appointed us and to the residents of the Commonwealth that it serves.”

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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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Commentary: Fear of a 2016 Repeat Inspires Anti-Trump Hysteria

Over the past four years, American news organizations have not merely shredded their own credibility, but have piled those tattered shreds into a heap, poured gasoline onto the pile, and incinerated it. Anyone who still believes what they see on CNN or read in the New York Times is in the throes of a delusion. As much as we might wish to laugh at the plight of the media, now so obviously lost in the helpless hysteria of Trump Derangement Syndrome, we are not better off as a nation as a result of the catastrophe that has befallen American journalism.

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