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Virginia Supreme Court grants two-day extension for filing new redistricting special master nominees
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Virginia Supreme Court grants two-day extension for filing new redistricting special master nominees

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Virginia Supreme Court, which is housed at Ninth and Franklin streets.

The Virginia Supreme Court on Monday extended the deadline for submitting the names of new redistricting special master candidates until 5 p.m. Wednesday, but denied a Republican request for a conference call with the court.

All three Republican special master nominees to help the Virginia Supreme Court redraw the state’s new legislative and congressional districts were rejected by the court on Friday. One unidentified Democratic candidate was also rejected. The parties were given until 5 p.m. Monday to submit new names.

The justices on Friday cited the work of one GOP nominee for the Republican Senate Caucus and said the court “has concerns about the ability of the remaining Republican nominees to serve.” Under a constitutional amendment approved by voters last year, redrawing districts using new census data fell to the state Supreme Court when the Virginia Redistricting Commission ended in partisan deadlock.

Later Friday, Republican leaders in the House of Delegates and the Senate wrote to the court asking that all three Democratic nominees be rejected as biased. And a lawyer representing Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, and House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, asked in an email to the court that the deadline be extended until Wednesday.

The lawyer, Jason Torchinsky, also wrote Friday that: “In light of the Court’s order this morning, we would like to request a telephonic status conference with the Court to discuss special master qualifications at the Court’s earliest opportunity. My clients would like to avoid having their second round of nominations followed by subsequent disqualification motions that could lead to a third round of required nominations.”

While agreeing to the extension and denying the request for a conference, the court’s brief order Monday morning did not reference the Republican request that the Democrats’ other two nominees be disqualified.

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