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Ken Cuccinelli is a state senator from Virginia.  He is currently running for Attorney General of Virginia in the Republican primary.

And he cannot "guarantee" that he "will defend every single law in Virginia."

Now let's look at what the Virginia state website says about the role of the Attorney General:

The duties and powers include:

   * Provide legal advice and representation to the Governor and executive agencies, state boards and commissions, and institutions of higher education. The advice commonly includes help with personnel issues, contracts, purchasing, regulatory and real estate matters and the review of proposed legislation. The Office also represents those agencies in court.
   * Provide written legal advice in the form of official opinions to members of the General Assembly and government officials.
   * Defend criminal convictions on appeal, and defend the state when prisoners sue concerning their incarceration.
   * Defend the constitutionality of state laws when they are challenged in court.

   * Enforce state laws that protect businesses and consumers when there are violations. Individual consumer complaints are usually handled by another agency. [emphasis added]

Does this guy really think that a man who doesn't believe in the laws of the state of Virginia is qualified at all to be Attorney General?  

Originally posted to Wheres Eric Cantor on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:05 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's a shame that he eked out a win (5+ / 0-)

    by 100 votes or so in 2007. Should he vacate his seat a Democrat will eventually win it.

  •  Wow...just...wow. (3+ / 0-)

    Then again, I do have to give him some amount of credit for blatant, unapologetic honesty. It did take some serious balls to just state something like that flat-out, with zero wiggle/spin room.

    •  Of course, the major flaw in his declaration is.. (5+ / 0-)

      ...that it is his job to ENFORCE the laws on the books, NOT to determine whether or not they're unconstitutional--that's the job of the state Supreme Court, I presume.

      •  Just what Virginia needs ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JVolvo, totallynext, mommyof3

        An activist attorney general.

        The Republican brand: "Consequences, schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich"

        by D in Northern Virginia on Tue May 26, 2009 at 02:12:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is not so (0+ / 0-)

        EVERY elected official takes his own oath and has his own independent duty to ensure that he is acting constitutionally.

        Here's a hypothetical.  Suppose VA re-enacts separate but equal in schooling.  Would the AG really have to go to court to defend that law just to be told, "sorry, we already decided this issue 50 years ago.  But thanks for wasting everyone's time and money writing a brief because you couldn't figure out for yourself that this is unconstitutional and had to have us tell you."

        •  Wonderful straw man (0+ / 0-)

          But let's keep to honest debate, shall we?  

          Track Unrepresentative Eric Cantor at Where's Eric Cantor?

          by Wheres Eric Cantor on Tue May 26, 2009 at 03:34:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not a "strawman" (0+ / 0-)

            But just an extreme example of the logic of those who say that the AG's role is to enforce the law, not to decide on its constitutionality.  If that were so, he would not be able to refuse to enforce a segregation law.

            The point is an AG must independently evaluate the laws, their agreeability to state and federal constitution and the chances of success in court.  They are under no obligation to defend laws that they view as clearly unconstitutional.  Indeed, being lawyers, they are under professional obligations NOT to defend such laws, because they have a duty to be candid and forthright with the tribunal.

            •  "They are under no obligation to defend laws..." (0+ / 0-)

              Except no.  From above...

               * Defend the constitutionality of state laws when they are challenged in court.

              Perhaps not where you live, but in the state of Virginia, yes.  It's absolutely SHOCKING that people on this site would make this ridiculous argument, but there we go.  Times have clearly changed.  I could keep going on and on about the feasibility of having the power of deciding what is and isn't law in one person's hands (and how wildly unconstitutional THAT is), but some things should be obvious to all.

              Track Unrepresentative Eric Cantor at Where's Eric Cantor?

              by Wheres Eric Cantor on Tue May 26, 2009 at 04:19:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  He has to defend them (0+ / 0-)

                only if he can do so in good faith.  He is under no obligation to present a bad faith argument to the courts.

                And there is nothing unconstitutional about an officer of the court and the state deciding that he cannot in good consciousness enforce a clearly unconstitutional law.  That has been settled for generations.

  •  I think this is the wrong way to go. (0+ / 0-)

    Virginia has had some famously horrible laws on its books, and if in the 1960s a progressive candidate for state AG had declined to promise to defend all of its laws, we would have celebrated that kind of reticence.  While I assume there's nothing in VA's statutes that rises to the level of the anti-miscegenation stuff, there may well be some unconstitutional things in there (and that's likely the case in other states, not just southern ones), and I want an AG to use some discretion in deciding which laws to defend.

    If you want to make Cuccinelli declare which laws he has reservations about that's fine, but the general idea can't really be used against him with any effectiveness, nor should it.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Tue May 26, 2009 at 01:36:54 PM PDT

  •  That is a reasonable position (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coffeetalk

    adopted by AGs around the country.

    Most recent example:  Jerry Brown and Prop 8.

    But Elena Kagan who is the current Solicitor General also took the same position with respect to federal laws.

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