By Graham Moomaw
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear new arguments in a Virginia racial gerrymandering case that could reshape the House of Delegates, offering Republicans another chance to defend the electoral map that is currently in the process of being redrawn by a lower court.
In its order list released Tuesday morning, the Supreme Court said it would take up an appeal from the House GOP and asked the parties to file briefings on whether Republican leaders have standing to challenge the lower court’s ruling.
Though it appeared the 2019 House elections would take place under a redrawn map after the lower court ruled portions of the map unconstitutional, the new Supreme Court proceedings raise the possibility that the existing map will still be in place for next year.
The exact schedule for the new Supreme Court proceedings was not immediately clear Tuesday, but the case is expected to be heard in the spring. The Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t automatically halt the lower court’s efforts to create a new map, but Republicans may ask for the process to be put on hold as their appeal continues.
A redrawn map could determine partisan control of the House, where Republicans currently hold a 51-49 majority after losing 15 seats to Democrats in 2017.