Before we even had the chance to see the courts slap down the illegal re-redistricting plan put forth by the GOP Senate Caucus of the Commonwealth of Virginia last month, it got slapped down Wednesday by the leading member of the GOP-controlled House of Delegates:
Today, Speaker Howell ruled Senate Republicans’ off-year redistricting plan not germane to the underlying bill. The Speaker’s ruling ends Senate Republicans’ hopes of defying the will of the voters with an unconstitutional, partisan gerrymander.
Democrats praised the Speaker’s statesmanlike decision, noting that the composition of the Senate will continue to reflect the will of the voters, and not the will of politicians eager to expand their grip on power. Two weeks ago, Senate Republicans rammed through a blatantly unconstitutional off-year redistricting measure on a day when civil rights icon Senator Henry Marsh was away from the Capitol, attending President Obama’s second inauguration.
As Blue Virginia’s KathyInBlacksburg says, Howell’s primary interest was probably not the upholding of democracy, but how history would treat him. He didn’t want to be the person that signed off on a power grab so atrociously slimy that it would poison relations between legislators for decades. (He likely especially didn’t want to be the person that signed off on this move, only to see it get shot down in the courts.) Read the rest of this entry →