Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Responding Where The Left Goes Unchallenged

One of the great challenges of The Family Foundation is to be a voice of reason in a world where the media carries the message of the left without any challenge to its lack of logic. Within the past few days, I've encountered a number of these opportunities.

In an interview with a clearly biased reporter, which she indicated would be about abortion center safety standards, I was asked to respond to the 18 percent drop in the abortion rate over the last five years. Without more specific information, I respond that many common sense abortion laws had been passed in addition to the great work done in the area of foster care and adoption. But this response doesn't match the reporter’s narrative. The official narrative, her narrative, was that any drop in abortion must relate to contraception.

Basic knowledge of biology says that only a drop in the pregnancy rate, not the abortion rate, can be directly attributed to contraception. For simplicity sake, consider this example: Let's say 1,000 women got pregnant in 2007 and 25 women chose abortion, but in 2011, 1,000 women got pregnant and only 20 women chose abortion. In this example, the number of conceptions has not changed (still 1,000) and thus tying the decrease in abortion (25 to 20) to contraception is illogical. Rather, it means that five women made alternate choices from abortion regarding their pregnancies.

With this in mind, I found it interesting when the reporter next began to challenge me on contraception but never told me anything about the pregnancy rate or even the "unintended" pregnancy rate during the five year period.

What is known is that even the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the abortion industry, acknowledges:

In six [countries] — Cuba, Denmark, Netherlands, the United States, Singapore and the Republic of Korea — levels of abortion and contraceptive use rose simultaneously.

To get a more accurate picture of what is actually happening in Virginia, one would need the birth rate, abortion rate and the number of children given up for adoption over time. Without that, both sides of this debate can guess at a reporter's questions and the reporter can angle her story in whatever direction she chooses.

A second opportunity to be a voice of reason took place when I was asked to respond to a Washington Post poll of Virginia voters and their views on various social issues. Prior to the interview, I requested to see the poll. The response from the reporter was "I'm afraid we don't normally share the poll." Seriously? I'm supposed to listen to the reporter's summation of the results and draw conclusions based on her conclusions? Yes, that's their hope because the assumption is that like dumb sheep, the right can be led into a ditch. The reporter was obviously dismayed that I challenged nearly all of the poll's assumptions.

As an example of the problem opining without data causes, the reporter asked me if the Republican Party ought to change its position to attract more voters as a result of the alleged shift on same-sex marriage. This question required me to presume the rest of her poll that I had not seen. I mentioned that if this poll matched any other poll on this matter, then the reporter would know that minorities support traditional marriage. She seemed surprised that I would draw this distinction but fully acknowledged that my point was well taken, was supported by the details of the poll and that changing a position on same-sex marriage wasn't going to attract the minorities the Republican Party is desperate to reach. (Oh, and shockingly, no questions about the Kermit Gosnell trial or the nearly 300 health and safety violations in Virginia's abortion centers. Then again, why ask about what you refuse to report?)

This interview leads me to the final difficulty of trying to present reason in a world where narratives are predetermined. Two days ago, I received a call at home from Quinnipiac asking me to take a political survey. I readily agreed but discovered just what I feared. When asked my top issue for determining how I vote, I was given approximately 10 choices, none of which were values issues. Similarly, I was asked about the Star Scientific situation regarding both Governor Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli but was never asked about Terry McAuliffe's false claims regarding green technology and jobs. Zero questions about the abysmal conditions found in Virginia's abortion centers. Even funnier, I was asked if I consider myself "Born Again," "Evangelical" or "None of the above." I'd love to meet someone who is "Evangelical" but not "Born Again." When the questions are this biased and misinformed, it's hard, if not impossible, for a polling company to get a clear sense of the electorate.

But then again, if the purpose of the poll is to reinforce a predetermined narrative, the pollsters, nor the media, are interested in the sense of the electorate. They are trying to steer the electorate. Which is one reason why, despite not knowing all the details, I do these interviews. If there isn't a voice of reason included in the story, the media wins without a fight.

Pro-Lifers Rally, Board Adopts Regulations!

The Virginia Board of Health Friday voted to adopt strong abortion center safety standards after a long day of competing protests, debate and tension. An estimated crowd of 500 people lined up at the building where the board met, evenly divided between pro-life Virginians and abortion supporters. It was a stark contrast to the June meeting where more than 100 abortion protestors dominated the day and where the board voted to water down abortion center regulations to exempt existing centers from important building standards required by the Code of Virginia. Because Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli refused to certify those regulations — they didn't meet the demands of the code — the board had to revisit the issue Friday. For weeks both pro-life and pro-abortion groups encouraged people to attend, and hundreds did, in addition to several dozen uniformed and plain clothes police who where there to ensure security.

The day began early, as Family Foundation staff began lining up outside the building at 6 a.m. to ensure we would be in the meeting room to testify. Only 100 seats were available in the room, and only those in the room could testify. After going through security checks, including metal detectors, we settled into the room for a long day.

The difference between this meeting and the one in June was remarkable. That day, the room was dominated by radical pro-abortion protestors and, quite honestly, it was a very spiritually dark day. Friday was radically different. In the room were dozens of pro-life supporters, including several pastors. Those who attended both meetings could feel the difference in the atmosphere. A few pastors who attended our Pastors Summit in Richmond Thursday were there, as were several from the Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists.

We could feel the prayers of pastors and pro-life Virginians! I cannot express enough of my gratitude for all of you who attended today's meeting, or who prayed for us. The support was incredible, and I have no doubt it made an impact on the results. During a year where elected officials and others have been viciously attacked by the abortion industry and media, and abortion supporters have mobilized in large numbers, pro-life Virginians needed to show up and prove again that we are the dominant voice in Virginia . . . and show up we did!

Public testimony was extended to one hour (normally 20 minutes) in an attempt to accommodate the crowd. In my testimony, I told the board that after the uncovering last week of more than 80 health and safety violations in nine abortion centers, the industry, which has claimed for years to be safe and in no need of oversight, was not in a position to be trusted and therefore should have no say in how it is regulated. Several other pro-life organizations also testified including the Virginia Catholic Conference, Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, Family Research Council and the Rutherford Institute. Others attending included the Virginia Society for Human Life, Students For LifeAmericans United for Life and Concerned Women for America Virginia. Our special thanks to Alliance Defending Freedom, which sent a letter to members earlier this week to clarify the board's legal authority and to other groups who encouraged the turnout.

In addition, Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) testified that the General Assembly did not intend to exempt any abortion centers. In 2011, Delegate Byron amended SB 924 to include abortion centers. She said that during the legislative debate, the intent was clear and that the bill was passed by chambers controlled by different parties. Her testimony was crucial to clarify some misunderstanding on the board over whether the General Assembly wanted existing abortion centers to be "grandfathered in" without the building standards. We so appreciate Delegate Byron's willingness to once again stand up for life in a hostile atmosphere, as she did time and again during this year's General Assembly.

Representatives of the abortion industry continued their pattern of deception. Incredibly, one person testified that the industry “supports regulations” but just opposed the building standards. The same individual has testified several years in a row at the General Assembly against bills that would have required only licensing, inspections and emergency equipment!

They also attacked The Family Foundation's release this week of inspection records showing widespread health and safety violations, saying that the centers inspected had received their licenses anyway and that the violations were minor. We don't consider a bloody patient table minor. We don't consider a freezer two-thirds filled with fetal remains and blood minor! But they do. The fact is, however, that those centers were not licensed until after they submitted plans to correct the violations and those centers are now subject to unannounced inspections. For years, they fought against the very inspections they now say they support and that uncovered the problems listed.

But the primary target of the abortion industry was, and still is, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. They continued their assault because he made the decision to uphold the law of Virginia and not certify the regulations in June. Of course, I'm sure they'd rather pick on the AG and cry "politics" instead of having to answer to questions about bloody patient tables, frozen fetal remains and untrained staffs.

The board, however, was not fooled. By an overwhelming vote of 13-2 it rejected several more attempts by one board member to water down the regulations and then voted to adopt the standards by the same vote.

While a major victory, the process to finalize these standards is not finished. They must go through several more steps in the next several months, including two lengthy public comment periods. It is crucial that pro-life Virginians make their voice heard once again during that time. If you spoke or wanted to speak Friday, please write your comments down and hold on to them for submission during the public comment period. We will provide ample notice.

Thanks again to everyone who attended Friday's meeting, testified or prayed. A special thank you to those post-abortive women who attended, some speaking publicly for the first time. We are so grateful and encouraged by your support, and I know the Board of Health members were as well. To get a feel for what it was like at the meeting, please click here for a series of photos.

Pro-life Virginians were not out manned at the crucial Board of Health Meeting Friday. For more scenes from the historic vote, click here or the image above.

Stand For Life At The Board Of Health Meeting

On Friday, September 14, the Virginia State Board of Health will reconvene in Richmond to vote once again on the proposed permanent abortion center safety standards to replace the current interim regulations. Will you clear your calendar to be present and invite your pro-life friends to this crucial meeting? The implications of non-mobilization are drastic. Can I be so bold as to ask that if you have prior plans to reschedule them so that you can be in attendance? We need to mobilize hundreds of pro-life Virginians at this meeting to show the Board of Health, the media, elected officials, and the electorate that we are pro-life, we are passionate, and we are the majority. Once the Board of Health adopts the regulations Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli again will review them for "certification," ensuring that they line up with constitutional and Virginia Code requirements. You may remember the craziness that ensued at the June Board meeting and the changes the Board made to the regulations, for which they have no authority. That action necessitated this additional meeting.

Pro-abortion activists see this as their final shot at preventing commonsense safety standards from being implemented at abortion centers and they are doing everything they can to derail the regulations. One pro-abortion organization has even gone so far as to call for the recusal of one of the Board members, stating that "his religious and personal views should not affect the women of Virginia and their access to healthcare." This is the pro-abortion movement's unabashed attempt to silence those who dare exercise their faith in the public square.

Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion groups have told their members to show up at the Board of Health meeting at 7:30 a.m. in order to guarantee themselves a seat in the "seating-is-limited" board room and to block pro-life attendees from equal participation. Pro-abortion activists are hoping for a repeat of the last board meeting at which their angry outbursts, hissing and booing disrupted the meeting (see picture below) and temporarily prevented the abortion center safety regulations from passing. We will not let this happen again!

We must show the Board of Health that we are pro-life and we are the majority. Please, add Friday, September 14 to your calendar and forward this e-mail to your pro-life friends. Plan to arrive at the Perimeter Center (9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond, Va., 23233) at 7:30 a.m. to prevent pro-abortion activists from filling the room and silencing your voice. We encourage you to bring a handmade sign showing your support for life. The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at 3:00 p.m., so depending on when the vote is held, this may become a day-long event. Please contact us if you have additional questions (804-343-0010 or vafamily@familyfoundation.org).

Thank you in advance for your attendance and for your willingness to stand in support of life. Together, we look forward to the coming day when Virginia will have permanent health and safety standards for the abortion industry for the first time in more than two decades. We are confident that those regulations will be the strongest possible.

Judge Not? Will General Assembly On Monday Elect Controversial Attorney To State Bench?

One of the General Assembly's most important jobs is to elect judges throughout Virginia. The commonwealth is made up of four levels of state courts is ascending order: General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts, Circuit Courts, Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of Virginia. Virginia has 32 districts and within each district there is a court in each city and county. On Monday, the General Assembly will return to Richmond to deal with Governor Bob McDonnell's budget amendments and with the appointment of judges. Currently, there are several vacancies throughout the court system. The appointment of state judges usually receives very little public input. Legislators make recommendations to Senate and House committees, which certify that the nominees are qualified members of the Virginia bar, under state law.

One of the individuals who will be voted on by the General Assembly Monday as a nominee for a judgeship, Tracy Thorne-Begland, has a long history of political activism, was at the forefront of repealing the federal "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, and once served as a board member and vice chairman for Equality Virginia, the commonwealth's largest and most influential homosexual activist group. In fact, this nominee for Richmond’s 13th General District Court was with President Obama when he signed the repeal of DADT. Additionally, Mr. Thorne-Begland has lashed out publicly against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli on a host of issues related to the homosexual agenda, saying, "He’s already stood in the way" in relation to Mr. Cuccinelli's urging of public colleges and universities to follow state law when it comes to non-discrimination policies. Thorne-Begland also criticized Mr. Cuccinelli for being "against hate crime laws" and "employment discrimination" protections based on sexual behavior.

One statement he made in 2004 in particular stands out. In an interview with Richmond Magazine, Thorne-Begland said, "In Virginia, we’re seeing a different situation. The situation is so hostile to gay and lesbian interests, particularly the judicial system, a lot of gay and lesbians choose to leave." It’s the "particularly the judicial system" statement that is especially concerning. Does he plan to use his position as a judge to accomplish his political agenda?

In 2004, Mr. Thorne-Begland was asked his opinion of the Marriage Affirmation Act, a law that was the model for Virginia's Marriage Amendment, and Virginia's climate toward homosexuals. Mr. Thorne-Begland signaled his optimism and said:

Perfect example: Virginia is the only state in the union that allows businesses to decide whether they can offer health care to gays and lesbians. When progressive representatives in the legislature sought to require businesses to extend domestic-partner benefits, laws are adopted that outright coerce Virginians to accept this way of thinking.

Mr. Thorne-Begland's thoughts regarding the use of coercion to change minds and force private businesses to follow his agenda flies directly in the face of free market political principles. The question is, will his personal political agenda take precedent over Virginia law and the constitution? Is he going to uphold laws he clearly and very publicly disagrees with? What does he believe is the role of the courts in moving in a more "progressive" direction? These concerns have come to light in the time since members of the General Assembly's Judicial Appointment subcommittee interviewed him.

There is additional concern that, once appointed, a progressively minded judge would be fast-tracked by a liberal governor or president to a higher court, such as the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Considering that judges have extraordinary power, one would hope that they would have a commitment to the state and federal constitutions that overrides their personal political agendas. When one is a judicial nominee who has shown himself to be willing to personally violate the law (he violated DADT while in the Navy) and publicly attack a sitting attorney general who is enforcing the law, we share the concerns of several members of the General Assembly, and would hope that it takes a long, hard look at whether that person should elected to the bench.

Until we can be assured he will not put his obvious political agenda ahead of the law, we don't believe he should be approved.

If you would like to express your opinion to your senator and delegate about the General Assembly's consideration of Tracy Thorne-Begland to a judgeship, please click here.

Health Care Lawsuit Appeal Hearing Tomorrow, Complete Coverage Here!

Tomorrow morning at 9:30, in the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Obama administration's appeal of Judge Henry Hudson's ruling that the federal health care law is unconstitutional will be heard. As we have been at every step of the way, from the motion to dismiss to Judge Hudson's decision, we will be there to cover it and will have video of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's entire post hearing news conference. We are the only Internet site has posted the entirety of each of his ObamaCare news conferences. Be sure to check back here for coverage of this history-making lawsuit which will play a significant role in the direction of our country.

Proposed Adoption Regulations Contrary To Virginia Law And Constitution; Clarifying Where We Now Stand In Process

Just two months before leaving office, former Governor Tim Kaine left Virginians an unwanted present in the form of proposed changes to adoption guidelines for private agencies (see the Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). These proposed regulations — by a Social Services Board still dominated by Mr.Kaine's appointees — slowly working their way through the process, seek to force private adoption agencies to place children in foster care or for adoption with parents irrespective of faith or sexual orientation. It would force faith-based adoption agencies to either abandon their principles or cease providing adoption services (as did Catholic Charities in Massachusetts, after more than 100 years, when that state's Supreme Court imposed such regulations by judicial fiat). The proposal under discussion here goes far beyond any policy currently in Virginia law. The Virginia Code clearly details who is eligible to adopt. In § 63.2-1201.1, it plainly states:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit any child to have more than two living parents by birth or adoption, who have legal rights and obligations in respect to the child, in the form of one father and one mother.

There is no mistaking Virginia's intent. The current regulatory proposal, which includes prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, contradicts the intent of the General Assembly.

Nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation, whether enshrined in law or implemented through internal constructs, and regardless of their legal weight, highlight the inevitable and unavoidable clash between the unalienable fundamental right of religious liberty and the postmodern era of sexual freedom. While one may agree or disagree with the actions of individuals or private organizations that express their faith in these ways, their fundamental right to do so is at risk with these proposed regulations. Faith-based family organizations have assisted children for decades without unnecessary intervention by government entities. It is very clear that homosexual special interest groups have no concern with preserving religious liberty in pursuit of their political agenda.

Upon learning about these proposed regulations weeks ago, The Family Foundation immediately contacted the governor's office. At that time, we were assured that Governor McDonnell does not support the current non-discrimination proposal and the current proposal would not stand. To ensure our voice was known where it needed to be, we submitted our official public comment and encouraged pastors to do so as well. After the public comment period closed, Governor Bob McDonnell publicly weighed in, telling the Washington Post:

I know I had said during the campaign that I would essentially keep our adoption laws — which I think are good — the way they are now. … I don’t think we ought to force Catholic Charities to make [the proposed regulations] part of their policy or other similar situated groups. Many of our adoption agencies are faith-based groups that ought to be able to establish what their own policies are. Current regulations that say you can't discriminate on the basis of race, color or national origin I think are proper.

Since then, concern has mounted based on the circulation of incorrect information stating Governor McDonnell must act by April 15. However, this is an incorrect interpretation of a section of the Code (§ 2.2-4013) that details the time frame for the Notice of Intended Regulatory Action stage, not the proposed stage. The public comment website shows that the adoption regulations are completing the proposed stage, not the NOIRA stage.

A chart published by the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget is extremely helpful in understanding how the circuitous regulatory process works: The proposed adoption regulations currently are in the bottom box of the middle column (not the second box of the first column). Correct reading of Virginia Code and regulatory process shows that the Board of Social Services has no less than 15 and no more than 180 days from April 1 (April 16 through September 28) to adopt the proposed regulations and submit them for full executive branch review. As displayed in column three of DPB's chart, the proposed regulations must then pass several more reviews prior to final acceptance, including reviews by DPB, the corresponding cabinet secretary, possibly by the attorney general (see Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's stated disapproval in the Washington Post) and the governor, then go through at least one more public comment period. The Department of Social Services already has amended the regulations and will present these changes to the Board of Social Services at an upcoming meeting. During any of these stages, the governor can reject or make changes to the proposal.

This adoption proposal, which tramples religious liberty, is a significant overreach through regulation into uncharted waters prohibited by Virginia Code and Virginia Constitution and will not be tolerated. The Family Foundation has been actively involved in seeing that these proposed regulations are not adopted and will continue to monitor the issue very closely.

Healthcare Lawsuit Update From Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli

Yesterday, we published the official statement of Governor Bob McDonnell regarding the one year anniversary of the federal healthcare law. In it, he mentions that more than half the nation's governors support Virginia's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case directly (although the 20-plus states that won in Florida Federal District Court are, for now, content to resume battle with the feds in Appeals Court). Today, we post a mildly abbreviated version of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's update of the case's status, as sent to supporters earlier today.

Virginia is on a 'dual track' in the case at the moment. We have a motion to expedite the case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court and at the same time we are briefing the case for presentation to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals — the appellate court that covers Virginia.

We have asked the Supreme Court to expedite the case under its Rule 11. They only do this for one or two cases per decade, so don't bet a lot of money on this one; however, the nature and cost of the healthcare law is the type that they have expedited in the past, so we'll see what they do.

We submitted the final brief on expediting this week. The Supreme Court will consider our request on April 15th. We could see a decision by the Supreme Court as soon as April 18th. ...

Under Rule 11 of the Supreme Court, Virginia has requested that the Supreme Court pull the case out of the Court of Appeals and hear it directly. This could cut almost a year off of the case, resulting in ENORMOUS savings to both state governments and the private sector if the law is found unconstitutional and stricken. And why go through all the hoops of getting ready to implement a law that may be stricken anyway? Oh, I'm sorry, there I go thinking logically again . . . naturally the Obama administration is opposing this effort . . . I know you're shocked.

You might ask yourself, "Won't the Supreme Court want to hear from Appellate Court judges?" And the answer is "maybe." Remember this case is pure legal argument. There are no documents or other discovery to consider, no trial witnesses, in fact there was no trial at all. So, we are re-arguing the same pure legal arguments from the district court again in the Court of Appeals. Also, five different judges have addressed the merits of the case, with more to come. So, there are going to be an unusual number of judges' opinions to look at — should the Supremes so choose — without even getting to the appeals courts.

Thus far, we are the only state requesting that the Supreme Court exercise its discretion to expedite the case. Whether or not the Supreme Court decides to expedite the case is entirely within their discretion, so it's hard to tell what may happen. ...

At the same time, we are about to submit our first of two briefs in the appellate court. In their opening brief, the feds made essentially the same arguments that they made in the district court. And while we adjust our presentation to include elements of other cases, our arguments will be the same as in the district court.

We will argue our case on May 10th before a three judge panel of the 4th Circuit (assuming the Supreme Court does NOT expedite the case, thereby taking it out of the appeals court). We will not know who those three judges are until the day of the argument.

Following our hearing, it would then be reasonable to look for a ruling around mid-July. I expect each side to react differently depending on who wins.

If Virginia wins in the 4th Circuit, I expect the federal government to ask the full 4th Circuit to rehear the case en banc (i.e., with all 14 judges of the 4th Circuit participating). This would be consistent with their efforts to drag the case out, as that may add several more months in the 4th Circuit, at which point, whichever side loses en banc will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If the feds win in the 4th Circuit, I expect that we will immediately appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Once we get to the Supreme Court, I would expect to brief and argue the case during the next term of the Court. The next term of the Court will run from the beginning of October 2011 through the end of June 2012.

I would then expect that a final decision in our case will most likely be made (best guess) toward the end of June 2012. I think it will be very hard for the Obama administration to drag the case beyond June of 2012.

Obviously, that is very interesting timing in light of the Presidential race. And it further baffles me as to why the President would want to drag the case as close to Election Day as possible. ...

Eerily Ironic Anniversaries: ObamaCare And Patrick Henry's "Liberty Or Death" Speech

Today is the one year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law. You can't escape it. The Mainstream Media's celebrations are more ecstatic than those provoked by a March Madness last second game-winning shot. More significantly, and what really should be celebrated, is today's anniversary of Patrick Henry's "Liberty or Death" speech in 1775, which lit the torch for freedom from Great Britain in the colonies. It was a speech that resonated thousands of miles to inspire liberty in an era when paper tacked on a tree was considered mass communication; it similarly has transcended throughout time to freedom loving people on guard against the advance of the Leviathan. The spirit today remains willing. But is the body politic?

When he filed his lawsuit against ObamaCare last year, also on this very date, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli noted the appropriateness of defending liberty on the same day when — at a courthouse about a mile from St. John's Church where — Mr. Henry inspired Virginia and a fledgling country. He made that point again today in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. But it is eerily ironic that a seminal event for the defense of freedom shares the anniversary day of the largest government grab of liberty in the history of the Republic.

So as to give you a flavor of Mr. Henry's speech on this great anniversary, and to pick up the slack of the contemporary culture and education establishment, here are two videos. The first is a video tour of historic St. John's Church in Richmond, via C-SPAN (click here for more about the church and other Virginia historic sites). The second is a partial reenactment of the speech, which is performed weekly during the summer and on special occasions at the church.

America given rise to . . . in a church.

A call to defend liberty that resonated throughout the land then and which has transcended time now.

ObamaCare Lawsuit: Who's Wasting Money Now?

Speaking of Virginia's lawsuit against ObamaCare: Remember all the liberal hysteria regarding all the money Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli supposedly is spending on the constitutional challenge to the federal health care law (Richmond Times-Dispatch) — as if government spending has ever been an issue with liberals? Never mind that he is defending Virginia law (the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act), which it is his duty to do. Where are the howls of disgust by the same people now that the Obama Justice Department refuses to agree (Times-Dispatch) with the Attorney General for an expedited appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court (Washington Examiner)? Without such an appeal, we're talking at least two cases in U.S. Courts of Appeals, at least another year or more of legal work and court proceedings, endless briefs and motions, travel from Washington to Richmond and Atlanta, meetings, hundreds of hours of federal government employee time and who knows what else it takes to try a case these days — only this will be two cases simultaneously, not to mention any further cases that are filed in federal district courts by other states or aggrieved parties. It's no exaggeration to say the cost could be in the millions. That's a lot more than the $350 it cost the Commonwealth to file its case in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia . . . but a lot less than the $1.1 billion it will cost Virginia to implement ObamaCare. The pricelessness of the hypocrisy is passed only by the reality of the true costs.

Abortion Center Safety Passes Senate On Lt. Governor Bolling’s Tie-Breaker Vote!

After a long and passionate Senate floor debate that spanned a few hours over two days, the Virginia Senate voted 20-20 this afternoon to direct the Department of Health to promulgate regulations for abortion centers. After a brief pause for the Senate clerk to announce the vote, Lt. Governor Bill Bolling cast his constitutionally authorized tie-breaking vote in favor of the bill. It now will go to Governor Bob McDonnell for his signature. After more than two decades of hiding behind a veil of political secrecy, abortion centers in Virginia will face greater scrutiny and better health standards. It was the first time ever that such legislation has even reached the Senate floor, despite numerous bills passed by the House. Each year, including earlier this session, the Senate kills the legislation in committee. But all 18 Republicans held together and two brave pro-life Democrats, Senators Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell) and Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas), resisted pressure from their caucus' leadership.

While the session has gone according to script this year, with the House passing and the Senate Education and Health Committee killing pro-life legislation, a dramatic turn occurred only a few days ago, in last days of session. SB 924, patroned by Senator Ryan McDougle (R-4, Hanover), which directs the Board of Health to promulgate regulations for certain health care facilities, passed the Senate and went to the House of Delegates. Delegate Kathy Byron (R-22, Lynchburg) offered an amendment to add abortion centers. Liberals challenged its germaneness, but after consulting with his parliamentarian, House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) ruled it in order and the House passed it overwhelmingly. That change required it to return to the Senate where the GOP caucus began to coalesce around the amendment. The vote was scheduled yesterday, but after a half-hour of debate it was passed by until today. Senate Democrat leaders pressured its two wayward colleagues, but at the outset of the tenor of today's 90-minute debate it was apparent there were no cracks in the coalition.

Unfortunately, opponents devoid of logic but full of less-than-genuine arguments, demagogued the issue. At one point Senator Janet Howell (D-32, Fairfax) mocked Senator Mark Obenshain's (R-26, Harrisonburg) recitation of federal court decisions upholding abortion center regulations, even though he was replying to her colleagues' calls for proof of legal precedent. It prompted this exchange. Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield) told his colleagues to "get a life!" if they thought the bill was about women's safety, ignoring his own colleagues' faux concerns for the constitution.

Senator John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke) repeatedly claimed the bill was unconstitutional with wild assertions and vague stretches of case law, all of which were refuted by Senator Obenshain, who cited federal appeals and U.S. Supreme Court decisions. One was Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which Senator Edwards said ruled such regulations illegal. Senator Obenshain replied that "standing up and saying so doesn’t make it so," and read from the court’s opinion which plainly disproved Senator Edwards' assertions.

Several liberal senators predicted horrors such as back alley abortions even though states such as South Carolina regulate abortion centers with no such reports and Virginia regulated abortion centers until 1983. They also claimed first-trimester abortions were among the "safest procedures" despite absolutely no corroborating evidence because there are no reporting requirements mandated in Virginia. Senator Dave Marsden (D-37, Fairfax) even compared the bill to the poll tax and efforts to keep minorities from voting in the Jim Crow era.

Another desperate aspect of the debate was the demand by several liberal Democrats that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issue an opinion, perhaps the first time they've wanted his advice. Of course, it was a tactic to delay and kill the bill. Senator Edwards sarcastically said the attorney general would love to defend the bill if it became law because of the other legal actions he’s pursued. But the fact was, and they knew it, he issued an opinion in August in support of the constitutionality of such regulations. He even accommodated senators with a letter composed during a Senate recess — which added to the longevity of the debate.

Opponents' arguments, so twisted, inevitably contradicted each other, with Senator Howell's unwitting admission that abortion is, in fact, used for contraception when she said the bill would take away one method of "determining the size of families."

This was a monumental vote and a historic day. The forces of life, after years of pursuit, finally won an incremental and commonsense victory. Thank you to all who contacted their senators on this important issue! We now look forward to working within the regulatory process to ensure the regulations by the Board of Health ensure abortion centers are safe for women who make the unfortunate choice of abortion.

A Shocking Day: Chief Justice Hassell's Untimely Death, Webb Won't Run For Re-election

I was in the Senate Finance Committee this morning watching, thankfully, two good bills, which may lead to some much needed tax reform, fly through. The committee agenda was short, normal right after "crossover," and only six bills were heard, all passing on unanimous voice votes. Can't be much simpler than that. At what should've been a quick bang of the gavel to dismiss, committee Chairman Chuck Colgan (D-29, Manassas) made the announcement, the first one in public as it turned out: Former Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leroy Hassell, Sr., died, unexpectedly, at age 55 (WTVR.com). He previously stepped aside as chief justice, but remained on the court.  Governor Bob McDonnell ordered that the flag of the commonwealth be flown at half-staff on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds (WTVR.com). New Chief Justice Cynthia Kinser was scheduled to be sworn in officially this week. There is no word on the status of that ceremony at this point. She will be the first woman Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice.

(Updated 4:45 p.m.: The governor has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until his burial on all local, state, and federal buildings and grounds in Virginia. Additionally, Justice Hassell will lie in state in the Virginia State Capitol prior to burial. See his official statement honoring Justice Hassell)

Chief Justice Hassell was the first black person to serve in that position. He was a native Virginian, and proudly so. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli included this 2003 quote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in his statement honoring Mr. Hassell:

I do not wish to serve, however, because I happen to be black. Rather, I desire to serve because I am a Virginian by birth who has a strong affection and love for the commonwealth and its people.

He will be missed. He was a man of great faith, intellect, warmth, stature and humility.

Later in the morning, a bombshell e-mail from a political consultant friend: U.S. Senator Jim Webb will not run for re-election in 2012 (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). Though not totally unexpected, the timing (through no fault of Senator Webb) was strange, so soon after the sad news about Justice Hassell. Mr. Webb had not actively engaged in fundraising and many thought from the beginning he would term limit himself, given the flukish nature of his election — and a possible Defense Secretary appointment in a potential Obama second term.

Now, the attention turns to who the Democrats will nominate. Early speculation ranges from everyone from former Governor Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe (if he can be pulled away from running for governor) to former Congressmen Rick Boucher and Tom Periello, to Krystal Ball, who unsuccessfully challenged Republican Rob Wittman in the first district last year.

Breaking: Virginia Wins Round One In HC Legal Challenge!

Federal District Court Judge Henry Hudson, of the Eastern District of Virginia, ruled within the last few minutes that the individual mandate provision of the new federal health care law is unconstitutional. News leaked out at noon, when Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sent a tweet that claimed:

HC ruling is in. Va won this round.

He followed that up with an e-mail about 17 minutes later:

Today, a federal judge in Richmond ruled the individual mandate of the federal health care law UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

In other words — we won!

This won't be the final round, as this will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court, but today is a critical milestone in the protection of the Constitution.

I am still fully digesting the court's ruling, so I'll get back to you again later with more details, but I wanted you to hear the good news right away.

Thank so many of you for your support to become the Attorney General of Virginia, and your support since then. Today is a day to celebrate those same first principles that our founding fathers articulated over 200 years ago.

We are proud to defend their work and the same first principles today in the 21st century.

Stay tuned — and thank you for your support.

To Judge Hudson's decision. Here are pertinent quotes from his 42 page opinion (see here):

Page 24:

Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter a stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I. ...

Page 37-38:

The absence of a constitutionally viable exercise of this enumerated power is fatal to the accompanying sanction for noncompliance. ...

A thorough survey of pertinent constitutional case law has yielded no reported decisions from any federal appellate courts extending the Commerce Clause or General Welfare Clause to encompass regulation of a person's decision not to purchase a product, notwithstanding its effect on interstate commerce or role in a global regulatory scheme. The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimal Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers (emphasis added). At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it's about an individual's right to choose to participate.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution confers upon Congress only discrete enumerated governmental powers. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.

On careful review, this Court must conclude that section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — specifically the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision — exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power.

Judge Hudson, however, did not do two things the Commonwealth asked: He did not place an injunction on the law, stating the individual mandate won't take affect for three more years while acknowledging his decision will be appealed. However, he cited precedent stating that "declaratory judgment is the functional equivalent of an injunction," and noted the Commonwealth conceded the administration is duty-bound to honor the decision. 

He also did not invalidate the entire law, saying there were more than 400 provisions unrelated to the specific provision challenged. That, however, gives an idea as to how obnoxiously crafted the legislation was.

Cuccinelli Schools Clueless Demagogue Chris Matthews

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Thursday night to discuss the proposed Repeal Amendment (see Norfolk Virginian-Pilot), a mechanism that would allow two-thirds of the states to nullify a federal law or regulation (see Speaker Bill Howell's op-ed at Cato.org). Because A) he utterly disassembled Matthews, as he did Eliot "Client Number 9" Spitzer a couple of weeks ago on CNN, and B) because no one watches MSNBC, we thought we'd post the video for your entertainment. These things often are painful to watch. The liberal, in this case Matthews, either cannot grasp the issues and/or ignores them and makes, as the Attorney General accurately states, "assumptions" to suit his argument. In other words, the old leftist tactic of putting his negative words in your mouth and trying to force you to defend the absurd proposition. In this case, Matthews continue to ram the proposition that anyone who favors the repeal amendment was appealing to Johnny Reb and the redneck South. Nevermind that the U.S. Constitution was created by the states for the states, not to cede every element of life to a small band of federal government bureaucrats.

Never fear. Attorney General Cuccinelli would have nothing of it and, in the process, took apart and exposed the visibly disgusted Matthews — who plainly indicated his elitist belief that only Washington, D.C., can make good decisions — and revealed him as both of the above: clueless and a demagogue.

Update: The AG is saying tonight that the federal court ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare will be issued Monday. Stay tuned. If he has a news conference, we will be there to cover it.

Enjoy the video (9:05):

A little knowledge is dangerous, Chris. Perhaps a little preparation next time? Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli takes apart elitist Chris Matthews. 

BREAKING: Internet Exclusive: See Entire Cuccinelli Post Health Care Hearing News Conference Here

In an another Internet exclusive, just as with the July 1 hearing on the federal government's motion to dismiss Virginia's constitutional challenge to the new federal health care law, we have Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's entire post-hearing news conference. The meeting with the media took place at about 12:30, about an hour after Federal District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia Henry Hudson heard two hours of oral arguments from the Department of Justice, representing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and the Office of the Attorney General, representing the Commonwealth of Virginia. The news conference is in five parts below. We will have comment tomorrow. No need to sort through what the mainstream media tells you. Hear and see it for yourself, right here. Attorney General Cuccinelli's statement and questions from the media take about 42 minutes. His statement is in the first two parts, and takes about 18 minutes. A good portion of his statement recaps the hearing (which was good since seats in the courtroom were limited and the overflow room's audio failed) and then lays out the historical and legal basis for the constitutional challenge. Whatever one thinks of the Attorney General Cuccinelli's positions, no one can doubt his preparation and knowledge of the legal, historical and constitutional context of the matter at hand.

 

Feelings...

Imagine that you own a Toyota Prius and, after all that has been said about their issues with safety lately the mechanic or the car dealer tells you, "well, we feel like our cars are safe." Or how about this...you are about to hop on an airplane and the pilot smiles as you walk by and says, "We feel like you are going to have a safe flight."

Apparently, in the world of Jessica Honke, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, that would be just fine.

You see, in today's Richmond Times Dispatch Ms. Honke makes a startling statement:  "We feel abortion providers in Virginia are regulated in the same way other medical facilities are that provide outpatient procedures."

Only they aren't, regardless of how Ms. Honke "feels" about the issue. 

Once again, instead of stating fact, the left relies on "feelings."  After all, if someone feels a certain way, it just has to be so.

The truth, however, is something quite different from how Ms. Honke's feels.  Abortion centers in Virginia are treated by the state as doctors offices, with far fewer health and safety requirements than "other medical facilities are that provide outpatient procedures."  They don't require things like defribullators (something that even the General Assembly building has).  There are no required inspections. 

Honestly, if I had my way, every doctor's office in Virginia would be more strigently regulated than they are now, but in facilities that do invasive surgical procedures that require some degree of anesthesia, the least we can have is life saving equipment and an inspection now and then.

No matter how Ms. Honke feels about the issue.

Statement From Attorney General Cuccinelli On Today's Health Care Lawsuit Hearing

Below is the news release issued by the Office of the Attorney General regarding today's hearing on the federal government's motion to dismiss Virginia's lawsuit against the health care law. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli emphasized and elaborated on the quotes below at his post-hearing news conference, which you can see here.

Virginia defends health care lawsuit for first time in court this morning; Federal judge heard feds’ Motion to Dismiss

- Feds say individual insurance mandate is a tax -

Richmond (July 1, 2010) - Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his legal team made their first defense of Virginia’s lawsuit against the federal government’s new health care act this morning. Federal district court judge Henry E. Hudson listened to Virginia’s and the federal government’s arguments on U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s motion to dismiss the suit.

The federal government argued that Virginia lacks the standing to bring a suit, that the suit is premature, and that the federal government has the power under the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause to mandate that citizens must be covered by health insurance or pay a civil penalty. The government also made alternative arguments based upon its taxing power and the Necessary and Proper Clause.

“If the government prevails and Congress may use the Commerce Clause to order Americans to buy private health insurance, then Congress will have been granted a virtually unlimited power to order you to buy anything. That would amount to the end of federalism and our more than 220 years of constitutional government,” Cuccinelli said following the hearing.

Part of the commonwealth’s argument in court was that “the government can’t draft an unwilling citizen into commerce just so it can regulate him under the Commerce Clause.” E. Duncan Getchell, Jr., Solicitor General of Virginia, argued on behalf of the Commonwealth.

When questioned by the judge whether the individual insurance mandate was a tax or a penalty, the attorney for the federal government said it was both, even though members of Congress specifically said they did not pass it as a tax, and President Obama has stated it was not a tax, to appear to keep the president’s promise not to raise taxes on the middle class.

“One mile from the U.S. courthouse where we just argued this case is St. John’s Church, where Patrick Henry gave his famous ‘Give me liberty or give me death’ speech. So it’s fitting that in that courtroom today, just one mile down the road, we were fighting the greatest erosion of our liberty since our country’s founding,” said the attorney general.

Blogosphere Exclusive: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's Post-Hearing News Conference!

It's been a full day, not the type you plan for when trying to ease into a holiday weekend. First, it was two hours in a federal courthouse waiting for, and then sitting through, arguments by the Department of Justice and the Office of Attorney General as to why Virginia's lawsuit against the federal health care law should be, respectively, dismissed and go forward to trial (see the Washington Post's Virginia Politics Blog). More on that later (lots of legalese to sort through before a long weekend). But we wanted to be the first (and perhaps only) blog (or any media) in Virginia to provide video of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's entire post-hearing news conference (see AG's news center for news release). At least we didn't see any other bloggers with cameras in attendance and television stations typically don't post entire events online.  By the way, there was a fairly large contingent of media assembled for this. At the time of this post, there are 200-plus articles on it per a Google search (state and national publications), highly unusual for a hearing on a motion to dismiss. Imagine what it will be like in October of the case proceeds. Judge Henry Hudson (who presided over the Michael Vick dog fighting trial)said in court today that his decision on that matter will come within 30 days.

Because of YouTube criteria, we broke the news conference into three parts (see our YouTube channel). Please share it with others (it can be viewed on mobile devices as well). The attorney general opens with a statement outlining the constitutional principles behind the lawsuit and summarizes the arguments from both sides at the hearing. He then takes questions from the media about three minutes into part 2.

Part 1 (9:25):

This lawsuit is not about health care. It is about liberty. ... Today we were protecting the U.S. Constitution and Virginia statutes as my oath of office calls for. 

Part 2 (9:37):

Since 1819. ... A penalty for inaction is not a tax of any kind known in our constitutional history.

Part 3 (8:53)

The state is a separate sovereign entity in our constitutional system. It was set up by The Founders to the benefit of all our citizens. I was very clear in my campaign that if the federal government overstepped it's proper boundaries that Virginia would fight back.

Update: Cuccinelli To Webcast Briefing On Health Care Lawsuit June 16

It's the talk of the nation and certainly has provided motivation for viscous attacks by left-wing bloggers and politicians, but it is right and just — the law suit brought by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli against the freedom crushing government run health insurance plan concocted and rammed through by President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Because the mainstream media and left wing groups have attempted to demonize the law suit, the attorney general smartly is going around them. So, here's a reminder thatthis Wednesday, June 16, at 8:00 p.m., Attorney General Cuccinelli will host a Webcast town hall meeting to discuss the facts of the case, the constitutional issues involved and the legal process. He also will take questions from the online audience.

Click here to sign up for this free event, that promises to be very informative as well.

We urge you to take part in this Webcast. As the national debate over government-run health care continues, the mainstream media and statists who support it continue to spoon feed their deception to the public over the airwaves, in newspapers and on the Internet, especially throught political party manipulated bloggers. Knowing the truth is essential as you discuss this important topic with your friends, co-workers and fellow church members.

Too many of our fellow Virginians do not know the actual content of our constitution or what it means. You must be equipped with the facts and arguments to be able to counter the pro-government run health insurance crowd.

We also hope you will take the time to read the attorney general's brief on the case (you can bet most of those raising their hackles about it haven't) by clicking here. It summarizes the constitutional law and historical arguments that are the foundation of the commonwealth's case against the Obama administration.

As Americans get ready for summer vacation and are fixated on the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, decisions will be made in the coming weeks and months that will affect the very foundations of our our way of life. We highly encourage you to join the Mr. Cuccinelli Wednesday night on the Webcast to learn more about this incredibly important case.

Also Endorsing Fimian . . .

About the same time I received the Fimian campaign's e-mail alert trumpeting Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's endorsement, something that's taken, not unexpectedly, only minutes to create a major political buzz (Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog), I received an e-mail from former Delegate and Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Jeff Frederick. He also endorsed Fimian:

. . . join me in supporting Keith Fimian. Keith is a successful small businessman who has literally created hundreds of jobs — just the kind of leader we need today. Plus, unlike others in this race, he is the opposite of a typical Washington Republican/politician — which is exactly the kind of person we need representing us. But most importantly from our perspective, Amy and I are proud to call him a friend who has always stood by us. 

Note the phrasing "typical Washington Republican/politician." Frederick has no need for certain politicians be they Republican or whatever else.

Fimian is facing fellow Republican Pat Herrity for the Republican nomination to face first-term incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly in Virginia's 11th Congressional district. It is considered a swing district and most likely will be tracked by national pundits to detect any trends for this November's mid-term elections. A GOP pick-up here probably foretells a big national gain for the Republicans.

Fimian Receives Cuccinelli Endorsement For 11th District GOP Nomination

There was more big new in the increasingly high profile Virginia Republican 11th Congressional District nomination campaign. Overshadowed by the Tea Party dominated 5th and 2nd district races, Republicans Keith Fimian and Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity have methodically raised the decibel level over charges and counter charges of who has raised taxes and who's more electable in the general election against first-term incumbent Democrat Gerry Connolly. Today, Fimian made more news: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli endorsed him. His endorsement statement reads:

Today, I am proud to endorse Keith Fimian for Congress. Keith's experience and record of creating jobs here in Northern Virginia makes him an ideal candidate to face off against Gerry Connolly this fall.

Keith is staking out the same conservative positions now as he did in 2008, and his steadfast support of the Constitution is an asset we could use on Capitol Hill. And unlike Gerry Connolly, Keith has shown that he will not change his tune to win votes. He will stand up to the Washington insiders and fight for what is right, no matter what.

As an entrepreneur, small businessman and job creator, Keith Fimian is exactly the kind of leader we need in Congress right now to turn this economy around. He will focus on creating jobs, cutting spending and he'll work hard to get government out of the way of businesses doing business. Keith Fimian is 100% pro-life — he's someone we can trust to always vote to defend our traditional values and stand up for families.

If Republicans are going to make a meaningful comeback in 2010, we need candidates like Keith who will carry their conservative principles to Congress — not return to the business-as-usual politics that lost us the majority in the first place.

Keith Fimian has the qualities and experience we need to win in November. We need Keith Fimian in Congress, and that's why he's earned my endorsement. ...

The endorsement by Cuccinelli, the most popular statewide official among conservative and libertarian activists, and a rare pol not afraid to jump in where principle matters, should be a real asset to Fimian among primary voters. Fimian, who started and runs U.S. Inspect, the nation’s largest provider of residential and commercial property inspection services, ran a spirited campaign but lost the Northern Virginia swing district to Connolly in 2008, a poisoned year for Republicans. The seat was open due to the retirement of former moderate GOP Congressman Tom Davis. It is targeted by state and national Republicans.