Monday, May 23, 2016

Executive Overreach Creeps into Virginia

A “Crooked Hillary” lackey, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, is having a rough week and it’s mostly self-inflicted. The Governor has recently come under investigation by the FBI for donations to his gubernatorial campaign (more on that in a later post).

As if that was not enough for a bad day, McAuliffe is also facing a lawsuit that was filed in the Virginia Supreme Court today challenging the constitutionality of using an executive action to restore voting rights to felons en masse:
Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly will file suit today in the Supreme Court of Virginia challenging Gov. Terry McAuliffe's authority to order a mass restoration of rights April 22, covering more than 200,000 felons who have served their time.

"The Constitution of Virginia forbids this unprecedented assertion of executive authority," the filing states. "Governor McAuliffe’s executive order defies the plain text of the Constitution, flouts the separation of powers, and has no precedent in the annals of Virginia history. The governor simply may not, with a stroke of the pen, unilaterally suspend and amend the Constitution."

McAuliffe's order came just days after the General Assembly wrapped up the 2016 legislative session, has the potential to expand the state's voter rolls by up to 3.8 percent.

Chuck Cooper, the attorney for Republicans filing the suit, said the plaintiffs are making a direct appeal to the state's highest court because "time is of the essence...the governor issued the order in time for thousands and thousands of felons to register and ultimately vote in November elections, but that isn't enough time to litigate a case in the normal course of the trial courts of the commonwealth."

In a statement, [Speaker of the House William J.] Howell, who has clashed frequently with McAuliffe during his term over Medicaid expansion, gun control and most recently judicial selection for the Supreme Court of Virginia, said legislators "simply cannot ignore this unprecedented executive overreach.”

Given the current FBI investigation, the lawsuit, and even further allegations of wrong doing, one need not infer the Governor’s motive, as his actions speak directly to it. The unconstitutional executive action was taken for one reason alone: adding Virginia’s felon voters to the rolls in time for the presidential election. Voters that statistically will likely support “Crooked Hillary” for President. 

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