In Virginia, Democrats in the state Senate had proposed breaking up the majority-black Tidewater 3rd District into two separate districts. But when Republicans took control of the state Senate in last November's elections, they passed a plan packing even more black voters into the 3rd, shoring up four neighboring GOP-held seats. In late February, a circuit court in Richmond threw out a Democratically backed lawsuit challenging the map on the grounds that Republicans had missed the state's 2011 redistricting deadline.
The Justice Department has demonstrated a laissez-faire approach to GOP-friendly redistricting in much of the Deep South. While advocates had pointed out that additional African-American majority seats could have been drawn in Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Virginia, GOP-dominated legislatures in those states chose not to add any, maximizing Republican-heavy seats instead. In each state, Justice signed off on the Republican plans.
The one state in which the department has objected to a state's new congressional boundaries is Texas, where it objected to the GOP legislature's failure to add more Latino majority seats.
Texas is among just three states with plans still awaiting preclearance.