- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Gov. Mark R. Warner hired his own lawyer yesterday to assist him as the state appeals a lower court's ruling that Virginia's legislative lines be redrawn.
"Due to the attorney general's unprecedented failure to provide basic and required legal services to the executive branch, I will appoint a special counsel to represent the executive branch," Mr. Warner said.
Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, Republican, said last week he would not meet with Mr. Warner to discuss the case because it would violate attorney-client privilege.
Mr. Warner, a Democrat, has indicated he supports the lower court ruling. Mr. Kilgore does not.
"It is clear that entering into discussions of the case with the governor could have created a conflict for this office," Mr. Kilgore said in a statement released late yesterday afternoon. He added, "I informed Governor Warner of the potential conflict and recommended that he consider special counsel for himself. I am pleased that he has taken that step."
Mr. Warner appointed Pam Karlan, a Stanford Law School professor and a former University of Virginia law professor, to be the special counsel. Ms.Karlan previously represented defendants in the 1991 Virginia congressional redistricting case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overturned the congressional lines drawn by the General Assembly.
Ms. Karlan has authored several books on redistricting and voting rights. In a phone interview from her Stanford University office, she said she is working for Mr. Warner on a pro bono basis. She added that the role the governor would play in the next round had not been decided yet.
She said that in her experience, it is not unusual for governors and attorneys general to disagree on matters of redistricting.
Last week, Roanoke County Circuit Court Judge Richard C. Pattisall ruled numerous district lines for the House and Senate were unconstitutional because he found them to be racially gerrymandered. He ordered the legislature to redraw the lines and called for a special House election this November.
Almost immediately Mr. Kilgore announced he would appeal the decision.
Ms. Karlan said Judge Pattisall's ruling appeared sound.
"I have read the opinion carefully, and the judge made factual findings that supported his conclusion," she said.
In addition to appointing special counsel for himself, Mr. Warner also said he authorized the secretary of the State Board of Elections, Cameron Quinn, to hire her own special counsel.
Mr. Kilgore said that move was unnecessary.
Mr. Warner said for the first time he supported Judge Pattisall's decision, but he believed it should be affirmed at a higher level because of its importance.
"I am aware of no instance in which an entire state's legislative districts have been struck down without review by a higher court," he said. "Consequently, I believe the decision needs to be validated through the appellate process."
Gary Thomson, chairman of the Virginia Republican Party, said he agreed with Mr. Warner that a higher court had to hear the case.
"The appeal is the best way to go," Mr. Thomson said.
Last week, Ed Matricardi, executive director of the Virginia Republican Party, sent out a memo to reporters outlining the constitutionality of the lines. He said he was confident the verdict would be overturned.
"Republicans merely maintained the existing majority-minority districts created by the Democrats in 1991," Mr. Matricardi said. "We will appeal, and we will win."
Mr. Warner said he thought the lines drawn by the General Assembly in 2001, and signed into law by Gov. James S. Gilmore III, Republican, were unconstitutional.
"The unusual shape of some proposed districts and the excessive concentration of minority voters in several proposed districts is evidence of an impermissible use of race," he said.


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