A narrowly-divided Supreme Court on Monday dismissed an appeal from Virginia's Republican-controlled House of Delegates which sought to reinstate the state's legislative districts map after it was struck down for improper racial gerrymandering.
The dispute focused on whether the federal Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which regulates the development of nuclear energy, pre-empts Virginia's mining ban under the U.S. Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which holds that federal law generally outweighs state law.
On Monday, in a 5-4 decision, the court said the House of Delegates lacked standing to bring the case. Primarily basically based on a lawsuit, a federal court docket declared the plot invalid, concluding that it unconstitutionally sorted voters basically based mostly on toddle.
Demonstrators protest during a Fair Maps rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019.
Justice Samuel Alito dissented, saying he saw no support "for the proposition that Virginia law bars the House from defending, in its own right, the constitutionality of a districting plan". "One house of its bicameral legislature can not alone continue the litigation against the will of its partners in the legislative process", Ginsburg added.
Ginsburg was joined by Justices Thomas, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch in ruling that it was not up to the House of Delegates to appeal a case that originally did not even involve them.
"This is a big win for democracy in Virginia". With the decision, court-drawn House maps, which were ordered in 2018, are upheld, and make it harder for Republicans to defend their majority in the House during November elections, according to analysis by the Virginia Public Access Project.
A lower court didn't buy it, so the House of Delegates appealed.
Invalidating the House's redistricting plan "would cause the House to suffer a "concrete" injury", which ought to be considered by the Supreme Court, he wrote.
Sabath: "It certainly closes the chapter on this long-standing federal litigation and from what we have seen, there is no evidence the General Assembly has any interest in revisiting the decision it made early in the 1980's to keep this industry out of Virginia".
"Authority and responsibility for representing the state's interests in civil litigation, Virginia law prescribes, rest exclusively with the state's attorney general", she wrote.
North Carolina attorney Aylett Colston explained in a Twitter thread that because the justices ruled on standing rather than the merits of the case, "it is hard to say" what this decision could mean for others, including one that focuses on her state.
"This is a welcome ruling from the Supreme Court - it's like I've always said, voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around", Northam said on Twitter.
Republicans said both men were hypocritical; Northam and Herring had voted for the original redistricting plans as members of the state Senate.
Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat, declined to continue pursuing the case, but the Virginia House of Delegates picked up the fight and appealed the decision to the Supreme Court; SCOTUS ruled Monday that a single house of the legislature didn't have authority to do so. The court could deal with it by the end of the term, possibly next week.