Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

139 S. Ct. 1945 (2019)

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Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

United States Supreme Court
139 S. Ct. 1945 (2019)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Under the Virginia Constitution, the Virginia General Assembly had exclusive authority to redraw legislative districts. The Virginia General Assembly was a bicameral legislative body composed of the Virginia House of Delegates (the House) (defendant) and the Virginia State Senate. After the 2010 census, the General Assembly redrew the state’s legislative districts. Voters in 12 affected districts, led by Golden Bethune-Hill (plaintiff), sued Virginia (defendant) alleging that the redistricting constituted racial gerrymandering in violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Virginia was represented by the Virginia attorney general (AG). The House intervened as a defendant, arguing that the redistricting was constitutional. The district court held that the redistricted maps were unconstitutional and ordered the maps redrawn. After the AG declined to pursue an appeal on Virginia’s behalf, the House filed its own appeal to the United States Supreme Court. Virginia moved to dismiss the House’s appeal for lack of standing. The House challenged, arguing that it had standing to represent Virginia’s interests. Alternatively, the House argued that it had standing in its own right because the district court’s ruling interfered with the House’s redistricting authority and redrawing the district map could force incumbent legislators to run for reelection in different districts.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

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