A panel of federal judges issued a ruling Friday that Virginia lawmakers illegally concentrated African American voters into one congressional district to reduce their influence elsewhere, bringing the state a step closer to being forced to redraw its election map. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia affirmed its earlier decision and ordered the Virginia House of Delegates to redraw the state's 11-district congressional map by Sept. 1.
[W]hen state Republicans proposed this map in 2011, Democrats argued ... that black voters were being unconstitutionally packed into the third district to dilute their voting strength. Though the GOP got the map through the narrowly divided state Senate by just one vote the following year, Democrats soon sued. Now these federal judges have agreed with their criticism. The panel of judges has ordered Virginia's legislature to pass a new map by September 1, 2015. The GOP legislature would still draw up the new maps, which could limit hopes of Democratic gains. But the Republican governor who signed the original maps, Bob McDonnell, is no longer in office (and has since been convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to jail time). So Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, would be able to veto any new map.