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House approves bill giving lawmakers standing

(AP) — Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates want to give lawmakers standing in lawsuits where the attorney general and governor have chosen not to participate.

The House approved a bill Monday at the Capitol giving them that power.

The bill is a response to Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision to fight Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Herring announced last month that he will join gay couples in two federal lawsuits challenging the ban. Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has supported Herring’s move.

Republicans in the GOP-controlled House said McAuliffe and Herring had abandoned their duty to uphold the state’s laws, regardless of their personal views.

House Democrats said Republicans were overstepping their bounds, and called on the Democratically controlled Senate to reject the proposal.

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One comment

  1. According to the report, “Republicans in the GOP-controlled House said McAuliffe and Herring had abandoned their duty to uphold the state’s laws, regardless of their personal views.”

    In taking their oath of office, the present governor, attorney general, and solicitor general of Virginia swore to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Constitution of the United States of America. In consequence, they are not required to defend laws they believe to be unconstitutional.

    Also, the Republicans in the state legislature and others criticizing the three have all too easily forgotten recent events: both of Mark Herring’s immediate predecessors as attorney general – Jerry Kilgore and Kenneth Cuccinelli II — stated publicly during their terms of office that they would not defend certain state laws they believed to be unconstitutional – Kilgore in a brief he signed with others in 2003 (the details escape me at the moment) and Cuccinelli in a public debate in 2009 (“I will not defend what I, in my judgment, deem to be an unconstitutional law. If I determine it not to be constitutional, I will not defend it. My first obligation is to the Constitution and the people of Virginia”) and again in 2012, when he refused to defend an education law which the governor under whom he served, Robert McDonnell, supported but he, the attorney general, did not.

    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. What Kilgore and Cuccinelli did, so too may Herring.

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