Va. redistricting trial begins in federal court

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Arguments and testimony have begun in a lawsuit accusing the Virginia General Assembly of “racial gerrymandering.”

Lawyers sparred Wednesday in federal court over whether race or politics were the main drivers in drawing the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch ( reports plaintiffs’ attorneys allege that the Legislature packed African-American voters into Virginia’s only black majority congressional district. They say that made neighboring districts safer for Republicans.

Lawyers for the state said the 2012 redistricting plan that boosted the number of black voters in the district was not racially motivated but represented “incumbent protection” and was purely political.

Democratic Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott has represented the 3rd for more than 20 years. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three voters in the district.

Court will reconvene Thursday.

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