RICHMAND, Virginia (WRIC) – The Office of Attorney General Jason Miares is due to respond by Friday afternoon to a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit seeking to force another round of elections to the Virginia House of Representatives in November this year.
Attorney Paul Goldman, a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, filed on Wednesday a motion to dismiss the state’s appeal of a lawsuit he filed in the Eastern District of Virginia in June.
The lawsuit alleges that last fall’s election results were invalid because they were held in legislative constituencies that have not been updated with new census data to reflect population changes over the past decade.
Goldman wants the court to set one-year deadlines for all 100 state delegates and force Virginia to hold another round of elections in the re-elected constituencies. If the court is on Goldman’s side, the struggle for control of the House of Delegates will take place for three years in a row.
The lawsuit has since stalled when Attorney General Mark Herring asked the court to dismiss attempts on procedural grounds. Herring’s office argued that senior state officials named in the lawsuit, including the governor, were not immune to such lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge David J. Novak ruled that the case could go against individual members of the state election commission and the Virginia election commissioner and refer to a panel of three judges. But Herring’s office appealed the decision to the 4th U.S. District Court of Appeal in Richmond.
“After the creation of the three-judge district court, the applicants had the right to ask three judges to meet to review the ruling, not the 4th district court,” Goldman wrote in his motion for dismissal.
On Thursday, the Federal Court of Appeals requested a response to Goldman’s motion from the state by 3 p.m. Miares’ office is now dealing with the case on behalf of the state.
A spokeswoman for Miares’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On March 8, the 4th U.S. District Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in the case. If the court agrees to close the case, Goldman can appeal the decision. If the appeal of the Prosecutor General’s Office is rejected, the panel of three judges, which includes Novak, will consider Goldman’s lawsuit.
This story is evolving. Stay tuned.