- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2002

Democratic Gov. Mark R. Warner and Republican Attorney General Jerry Kilgore are scheduled to meet later today to discuss the issue of redistricting and what if any role the state should play in appealing a circuit judge's ruling earlier this week that the legislative maps be redrawn.
Neither man, however, is expected to budge on his different opinion.
"If the governor asked him not to appeal, we believe that he shouldn't," said Ellen Qualls, the governor's press secretary.
Mr. Warner has not indicated whether he wants an appeal or not, but all indications are that he would be opposed. He has questioned the swiftness with which the attorney general announced he would appeal and his lack of consultation with the governor on the issue.
The attorney general, for his part, says the Virginia Constitution gives him the authority to act without the governor's consent.
"The constitution and the Code of Virginia require the attorney general to defend the laws," said Tim Murtaugh, Mr. Kilgore's press secretary. "We are basing everything on the code."
The Code of Virginia says that "all legal service in civil matters for the Commonwealth, the Governor and every state department … including the conduct of all civil litigation in which any of them are interested, shall be rendered and performed by the Attorney General."
Mr. Murtaugh called the meeting today a chance for the two men to "exchange information."
On Monday, Roanoke County Circuit Court Judge Richard C. Pattisall ruled numerous district lines for the House and Senate were unconstitutional because he said they were racially gerrymandered. He ordered the legislature to reconvene this year and draw new House and Senate lines. Delegates would have to run in a special election this November. Senators, however, would not have to run in the new lines until the next scheduled election in November 2003.
The looming showdown between Mr. Warner and Mr. Kilgore their respective parties' top state officials has overshadowed thus far the consequences of redistricting.
The legislature approved the lines last year, and Republican Gov. James Gilmore signed the law. Under the map, the Republicans were able to pick up a number of seats in the House, giving them a 64-34-2 majority. This majority makes it next-to-impossible for Gov. Warner, the only statewide-elected Democrat except for Lt. Gov. Timothy Kaine, to get his own initiatives through the legislature.
Mr. Murtaugh noted that, as attorney general, Mr. Kilgore has already begun two appeals on other unrelated matters without any question from the governor.
Miss Qualls said Mr. Kilgore's chief client is the governor, and therefore he should defer to Mr. Warner's judgment.
Mr. Murtaugh, however, said that Mr. Warner is not involved in the issue, regardless of his current standing.
"Mark Warner is not a party in this suit," he said.
The suit names Gov. Gilmore but does not mention Mr. Warner. It was filed last summer before Mr. Warner was elected.
The meeting today is scheduled for the afternoon and is expected to last less than an hour.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide