Virginia Senate Democrats Submit Recommendations for Redistricting Special Master
November 1, 2021
Today, the Senate Democratic Caucus Majority Leader Richard Saslaw submitted the following nominees to serve as a special master to assist the Supreme Court of Virginia in the establishment of districts for the Senate of Virginia, the Virginia House of Delegates, and the U.S. House of Representatives:
- Bernard N. Grofman, Ph.D. — Dr. Grofman is the Jack W. Peltason Endowed Chair, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Adjunct Professor of Economics at University of California, Irvine. He has extensive experience serving as a court-appointed special master for drawing both state legislative and congressional maps, including in Virginia, having served as special master to courts in drawing Virginia congressional districts in 2015 and House of Delegates districts in 2018. He has a degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago.
- Nathaniel Persily, Ph.D. — Dr. Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He has extensive experience serving as a court-appointed special master for drawing both state legislative and congressional maps in numerous states across the country. He is most recently the author of Solutions to Polarization (Cambridge, 2015), a scholarly book addressing the problem of political polarization.
- Bruce E. Cain, Ph.D. — Dr. Cain is the Charles Louis Ducommun Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment and at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He served as a court-appointed special master to draw state legislative districts in Arizona in 2002 and has served as a redistricting consultant to a number of government agencies, including the Attorney General of Maryland.
“We believe these nominees are more than qualified to assist the Court. They are experienced, tenured academics who are nationally recognized and universally respected as leaders in this field,” said Majority Leader Richard Saslaw.
“Virginia’s voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2020 which moved the responsibility of redistricting from the General Assembly to a bipartisan redistricting commission with mandatory public hearings and public access. The Virginia Redistricting Commission opened up the redistricting process to the public for the first time in Virginia history,” said Caucus Chair Mamie E. Locke, “and for the public to have faith in the process as it moves on to the Supreme Court, it is important that we maintain that spirit of transparency.”
“A public docketing system will allow the public to easily see every comment that is filed with the Supreme Court without having to make a trip to the Clerk’s Office,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Scott A. Surovell.
The Senate Democratic Caucus also proposed a briefing schedule, public hearings, and an internet-based docketing system to maximize the transparency of the Court proceeding.
The Senate Democratic Caucus urges and calls on the House Democratic Caucus, Senate Republican Caucus, and House Republican Caucus to join in these requests to provide structure and transparency to this very important, once-a-decade process.