- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

RICHMOND (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal of a court challenge to Virginia’s 2001 redistricting plan, ending four years of political and legal skirmishing.

Without comment, the court declined to consider an appeal by nine black residents who said the redrawn congressional districts violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by diluting black voting strength.

The lawsuit said the Republican-authored plan diminishes the ability of black voters to form a coalition with allied groups and elect a candidate of their choice.

It focused on the 4th District, contending that the Republican-controlled General Assembly deliberately “packed” majority-black voting precincts into the adjacent 3rd District, where black voters were already dominant.

Instead of creating two districts where candidates who appeal to black voters could be effective, plaintiffs argued, the Republican plan concentrated blacks in one Democratic-voting district, making the other largely white and Republican-oriented.

The 3rd District is represented in the U.S. House by Rep. Robert C. Scott, a black Democrat. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, a white Republican, represents the 4th District.

In September, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the appeal, ruling that the 40-year-old law does not protect such coalitions.

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