No Virginia House of Delegates race in 2002

If you’re a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, it’s now pretty much certain you’ll be on the ballot in 462 days if you get the nomination or otherwise qualify. Judge David Novak of Virginia’s Eastern Federal District Court has dismissed a second lawsuit seeking an election this year. (read the ruling)

“Like just about everything else in our society, the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic impacted the work of the United States Census Bureau, delaying the sending of the results of the 2020 Census to the states,” states the introduction to Novak’s order to dismiss the case. 

That delay meant Virginia did not have updated boundaries for the General Assembly or the House of Representatives until the end of 2021. At the time, Richmond attorney Paul Goldman had an active suit against the State Board of Elections arguing that the 2021 elections were unconstitutional because they were based on data from the 2010 Census. 

After several months of legal proceedings including an appearance before the Fourth Circuit of Appeals, Judge Novak and two other judges ruled that Goldman lacked legal standing to have brought the case. A few days later, Richmond author Jeffrey Thomas Jr. filed a second suit based on Goldman’s main arguments. 

Novak’s order recounts the long legal saga to this point, including the failure of the Virginia Redistricting Commission to reach consensus on new maps as well as the COVID-related delays.

“Because Plaintiff’s attempts to lay blame on Defendants for the delays caused by the unprecedented pandemic fails, Plaintiffs are unable to trace their injuries to Defendants,” Novak writes. 

Judge Novak’s order is made without prejudice, which means a new suit could be brought, but there are 98 days until election day. 

(read the order)

Before you go: The time to write and research of this article is covered by paid subscribers to Charlottesville Community Engagement. In fact, this particular installment comes from the August 2, 2022 edition of the program. To ensure this research can be sustained, please consider becoming a paid subscriber or contributing monthly through Patreon.

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