A federal court has issued an order on Virginia House Republicans to comply with a previous judgement that declared that certain legislative districts around the Commonwealth were drawn unconstitutionally. Although the GOP majority of the House of Delegates has just until August 24 to redraw the legislative map, Speaker of the House Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) has appealed that ruling and asked that the deadline be put off until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the case.
“The district court erred by ‘ignoring objective evidence of neutral redistricting decisions’ and by ‘discarding first-hand testimony…in favor of theoretical and post-hoc expert opinions about motive,'” Cox said regarding the earlier ruling.
All of this came about after an expensive redistricting case on part of the House Democrats, who now hold 49 seats in the 100-member state legislature. Of course, challenging the 2011 legislative district lines was expensive, so expensive that Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring doesn’t want to pay up to the legal beagles from Perkins Coie, the law firm that managed the case.
Herring’s office is now disputing the $4 million charge for extensive legal fees, which according to the attorney general is a “genuinely astounding fee award,” as stated in a report from AP. Herring argues that the question of legal fees should be decided at a later date, saying that the request from Perkins Coie should be “significantly lower” when it is decided.
Well, helping to award such a favorable judgement does have its price, Mark.
Nevertheless, Herring and Perkins Coie do share quite a lucrative relationship.
The state’s top law enforcement officer also hired the firm to help him in a 2013 recount battle, and his political committee has paid the firm more than $500,000, the reported stated.
Interestingly, AP‘s report that Herring paid firm over $500,000 in 2013 is not all that correct. According to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP), Herring paid the firm seven times over a two-year period, all with the designation “legal fees”:
November 12, 2013: $75,000
November 29, 2013: $75,000
December 23, 2013: $94,554
July 18, 2014: $75,000
December 31, 2014: $115,887
February 11, 2015: $50,000
April 30, 2015: $19,310
It must also be said that the “Herring Inaugural Committee” paid the firm $4,447 in 2014 and then $2,550 in 2018.
Though, the Seattle-based law firm may be wanting to recoup some of the donations its made to the minority party in the Virginia legislature. As reported by VPAP, Perkins Coie donated $137,281 to the House Democratic Caucus on January 9 of this year.
So, it’s interesting that Herring would not want to pay up to Perkins after they have been so integral to the Democratic landscape 2,941 miles away (depending upon which route you take) from their home office. After all, they flooded the coffers of the House Democrats and seem to have an ongoing, money-flush relationship with the Virginia attorney general.