Virginia attorney general Bob McDonnell

Virginia News Stand: December 10, 2008

The communications department had a "business trip" today in the northern reaches of the commonwealth — there are conservatives up there? — so we don't have much of a News Stand today. However, what I have found is good. So, herewith, with some comments by me, is today's News Stand:

News:

Group seeks more recorded votes (This is very interesting to note. Conservatives are split on the issue of recorded House of Delegates sub-committee votes. Some like the idea of killing of bills quickly and quietly, while others preach the good government/open, transparent government reform mantra. It cuts both ways: Neither side likes to go on the record when they can help it.) (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Election 2009: Governor's Race Is Wide Open In Virginia (Polling from Rasmussen shows it tight from the get-go. Also, interesting numbers on various issues, including that Virginians are not dying for a tax increase for transportation.) (Rasmussenreports.com)

Opinion:

The Democratic Culture Of Corruption (From Michelle Malkin. I've been waiting for someone to write about this, and I still may. By the way, she left off her list Eliot Spitzer — prostitution; Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad — Countrywide loan scandal; Representative Robert Wexler, who had no home in the Florida district he represents until recently; and Representative Tim Mahoney — who tried to use government money to keep his mistress quiet; among others.) (GOPUSA.com)

The Friday Line: Ten Republicans To Watch (From Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post blog The Fix. He notes 10 Republican rising stars who may make it big nationally. Two are Virginians, House Republican Whip-Elect Eric Cantor, from the 7th Congressional District, and Attorney General Bob McDonnell, seeking the governor's mansion. Additional interesting picks are two governors Virginia conservatives like very much: South Carolina's Mark Sanford and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal. Those not on the list include Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.) (The Fix/WashingtonPost.com)

Editorial Comics:

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Bar Codes" (Steve Breen, Townhall.com)  

"Obama Prepares To Part The Red Sea" (Chuck Asay, Townhall.com)  

"Having Solved The Affordable Housing Problem Congress . . . " (Chuck Asay, Townhall.com)  

Breaking News: Jindal Announces In Virginia He Will Not Run For President In 2012

Take it for what it's worth, but Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, one of the nation's fasting rising Republican stars, said flat out today he will not run for president in 2012. He was asked point blank by Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Tyler Whitley in the first question at a joint news conference at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond with Attorney General Bob McDonnell, which ended within the hour, where the nation's youngest governor offered his absolute and enthusiastic endorsement of the AG in his bid become the commonwealth's next governor in next year's statewide elections.

More to come from the press conference, but wanted to get this out now.

McDonnell Lines Up Endorsement From GOP Rising Star

Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell today announced that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will participate with him in a news conference tomorrow in Richmond where the popular Republican also will headline a fundraiser for the attorney general. We hope to be there and bring back some insights.

Here is the official word from McDonnell's office:

Attorney General Bob McDonnell and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to Hold Joint Press Conference Wednesday in Richmond

Jindal Visiting Richmond to Headline Fundraiser for McDonnell's Gubernatorial Campaign

Louisiana Governor, and national Republican figure, Bobby Jindal will visit Richmond on Wednesday, December 10, to support Attorney General Bob McDonnell's 2009 campaign for Governor. The two will hold a press conference at the Jefferson Hotel at 11:35 a.m. Following that event, the governor will headline a private fundraiser for the attorney general at another location.

All members of the press are invited and encouraged to attend Wednesday's press conference. Governor Bobby Jindal has built an impressive record in his role as Governor of Louisiana, and established himself as one of the rising stars of the Republican Party. Prior to being elected to his current position he served as a member of Congress, and, prior to that, as the youngest-ever president of the University of Louisiana system. Today he is the nation's youngest governor, and he is widely considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination if he chooses to run.

 

Gala Recap: A Rousing Success

Thursday night more than 600 pro-family Virginians attended The Family Foundation of Virginia's Annual Gala to hear a dynamic address by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. He did not disappoint. Pacing the stage and speaking with passion, Kline urged an audience that included Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Speaker of the House Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford), and several legislators and other elected officials, to continue to fight for enduring truth and for what is right and just regardless of the political consequences, because that is true leadership. He spoke of the breakdown of the rule of law in our nation because of the rejection of fundamental truth and mixed in personal stories from his battle with Planned Parenthood in Kansas, all of which energized the crowd. Because of his principled stands he became a target of Planned Parenthood, the media, the elites and the political establishment — first in his re-election campaign for attorney general, where he was defeated; then, most recently, for re-election as Johnson County District Attorney — this time in the form of a defeat to a Republican primary challenger.

Despite that, Kline continues to pursue the truth and bring justice for those who have suffered at the hands of Planned Parenthood clinics in Kansas. Speaking of the fight and retaliation against him by Planned Parenthood, the media, elitists and the political establishment simply for enforcing the law, he said, "They stole my name. They destroyed my reputation."

Also last evening, The Family Foundation was thrilled to present the 2008 Legislator of the Year Award to Virginia Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Centreville). Cuccinelli fought to defund Planned Parenthood in the 2008 General Assembly by introducing a budget amendment in the Senate. That fight shut down the Senate for over four hours while Republicans and Democrats fought within their own caucuses. Ultimately, the vote was a 20-20 tie with Lt. Governor Bolling casting the deciding vote in favor of the amendment.  The budget amendment, unfortunately, was not included in the final budget.

Senator Cuccinelli has been an advocate for property rights, life, marriage and many other values in his time in the state Senate. We were pleased to be able to honor him.

Family Foundation President Victoria Cobb told the crowd that as we are on the heels of another dismal campaign season, we are once again hear the pundits, media elite and politicians — Republican and Democrat — declare that Virginia is no longer conservative and that the battle is over. But she said that while many of us are frustrated with the state of politics in Virginia, it is how we now respond to that frustration that is going to determine our future success. 

She stressed that we cannot allow ourselves to wallow in pity or despair, and we must carry on; that those who claim our demise do not understand our values; that those who seek to silence us simply do not understand our faith; and that those who wish us to abandon the field do not understand our resolve. They do not understand that we will not stop

Thank you to all of you who supported this year's gala as a patron, a sponsor, a volunteer or in any other way. It was a rousing success, and we are extremely grateful for your continued support and prayers!

McAuliffe Gearing Up For Gubernatorial Bid

Although only in an "exploratory" stage, make no mistake: Top Clintonista Terry McAuliffe is running to be the commonwealth's next governor, just as we predicted in September (see here). Before all the ballots could be counted from the just completed election, he announced a tour of Virginia to meet and listen to voters (or just to learn town and county names and locations, thinks the cynic). However, based on who he is lining up as campaign staff, he's fully committed to go. According to Wednesday's Richmond Times-Dispatch, he has secured the services and/or commitments of Mike Henry, who ran Mark Warner's winning U.S. Senate campaign and Governor Tim Kaine's2005 gubernatorial race; Jenny Nadicksbernd, a fundraiser for Warner and Kaine; and communications veteran Mo Elleithee. Other consultants under consideration for polling and advertising all have long-time Virginia Democrat connections.

McAuliffe will face Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25, Bath) and Delegate Brian Moran (D-46, Alexandria) in a June primary. While there is plenty of material to use against McAuliffe, such as his ties to Teamsters Union corruption (see Counterpunch, here) and his massive stock profit while Global Crossing went bankrupt (Enron, before Enron), Dem supporters of the two legislators may be queuing up another line of attack: Not only is he a come-here with no experience in Virginia government, he flirted with running for governor once before — in Florida. The degree of the nastiness of the Democrat campaign may go a long way in determining the success of presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee, Attorney General Bob McDonnell, his ticket mates and House candidates.

Breaking News: McDonnell Tells Fairfax Registrar To Count The Military's Votes!

The U.S. Military doesn't fight and die overseas to protect our freedoms so that unscrupulous people in power back home can deny them their own constitutional rights.

When the news first broke late last week that the grossly partisan Fairfax County registrar, Rokey Suleman (contact here), was not going to count absentee ballots by military personnel, we were livid. This same man registered Fairfax County Jail inmates to vote earlier this month. (Why not? Captive audience, right?) But he wanted to deny the votes of hundreds of Virginians who are abroad fighting for our (including his) security and freedom. The gall of this man!

From the D.C. Examiner:

Inmates at the Fairfax County jail were encouraged to register and vote last week by (Democrat) elections officials making what the county's (Democrat) sheriff called the first visit of its kind in his 30 years with the county. 

We were ready to blog about this absolute gross injustice — first brought to the public's attention by Delegates Bill Janis (R-56, Glen Allen) and Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), both military veterans (Delegate Lingamfelter was a tank colonel in the Gulf War) — when we just received a news release from the office of Attorney General Bob McDonnell announcing that he has written and issued an opinion that tells Mr. Suleman to shape up and count the votes! (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot article, here.) Delegate Janis last week officially requested the opinion from Attorney General McDonnell — himself a vet and whose daughter has been deployed to Iraq.  

At issue was a minor technicality (Richmond Times-Dispatch article, here) that no Virginia registrar had ever considered an impediment to the counting of the votes of overseas military personnel, especially since a federal law allows military personnel a waiver for the particular circumstance in question. Yet, Mr. Suleman, the jailbird cherry picker, proposed to be the first to ignore the federal law. (Human Events article here).

Another irony: Fairfax County is the home to George Washington. Fine way of continuing the tradition, Mr. Suleman, of respecting the U.S. Military, which your county's most famous citizen did so much to form.

Meanwhile, where was Governor Tim Kaine on this issue? Not a peep. Isn't he Barack Obama's national co-chairman? Coincidence in his silence? We can tell you that besides travelling the country to campaign for liberal Democrats while the commonwealth's finances are falling apart, Governor Kaine was busy restoring felons' voting rights at such a dizzying rate that one wonders if he has diligently reviewed their applications. At this point last year he had restored a record 729 felons voting rights outdone only by this year's blistering pace of 758, per Delegate Janis on WRVA radio Friday afternoon.

The right to vote is a cherished value in our country. Actions by Mr. Suleman and the governor, not to mention renegade groups such as ACORN (see the CNN column of Tara Wall, deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Times), devalue the votes of all law abiding citizens and the brave men and women in uniform who constantly defend us and our freedoms.

Posted below is the news release issued by the office of Attorney General Bob McDonnell. The link to the opinion itself is at the conclusion of the statement. 

McDonnell Opinion: Count Absentee Military Ballots

Opinion Finds Federal Law Preempts State Law; Federal Ballots without Witness Address Are Lawful, Must be Counted

Fairfax — Attorney General Bob McDonnell released a formal opinion today concluding that federal absentee ballots from overseas military voters lacking the printed name and address of a witness must be counted. The opinion affirms that federal law preempts state law, thus clarifying the state and federal statutes regarding the issue. The confusion centered over whether a state law requiring a witness's printed name and address controls federal absentee ballots or the federal law governs this issue. The opinion was requested by Delegate Bill Janis (R-Henrico) and is attached to this release.

In the formal opinion the Attorney General finds, "It is . . . my opinion that the applicable provision of Virginia law, § 24.2-702.1(B), interpreted to require an overseas military voter submitting only a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot to include the printed name and address of the person who signs the witness statement is preempted by the provisions of the (federal) Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. Finally, it is my opinion that general registrars may not reject a Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot submitted by overseas military voters for the November 4, 2008 federal election that does not include a printed name and address for the person who signs the witness statement. ..."

Approximately 100 Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots have been set aside in Fairfax County pending a legal conclusion regarding the discrepancy between state and federal law. Additional Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots may also have been received in other jurisdictions. The Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot is most commonly used by members of the military who are stationed overseas and have not received a state absentee ballot. It is a means by which service members can be guaranteed a vote in federal elections.

A copy of this formal opinion was provided to the State Board of Elections this afternoon.

Click here for Attorney General McDonnell's official seven page opinion.

Pastors Energized To Make A Difference After This Week's "Watchmen on the Wall" Conference

Nearly 250 pastors and church leaders earlier this week joined together in Williamsburg at a "Watchmen on the Wall" conference co-sponsored by the Family Research Council and The Family Foundation of Virginia. The attendees were urged to speak out on important issues of the day and to encourage their members to take their civic responsibilities seriously.This year The Family Research Council is hosting several "Watchmen on the Wall" pastor conferences across the nation, including in Washington, D.C.; California, Arizona and New Hampshire. To date, nearly 2,000 pastors have joined together and hundreds of others have joined The Family Research Council's pastors' effort. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told the crowd, "Your leadership is absolutely fundamental and essential to this nation. My hope for America is not bailing out Wall Street. My hope for America is not in education. My hope for America is not in our strong military. My hope for America is Jesus Christ."

Former U.S. Representative Bob McEwen (R-Ohio) encouraged pastors to make sure people in their congregations are registered to vote. He said, "There are fifty million self-identified evangelicals in the United States. That's fifty million votes. Fifty million votes wins everything." Statistics indicate that at least half of self-identified evangelicals are not registered to vote. Dozens of churches in Virginia have been holding voter registration drives and will continue to do so up until the registration deadline (click here to see how to get involved).

Pastors also were educated by Alliance Defense Fundsenior counsel Jordan Lorence about their legal rights concerning speaking about issues, educating their congregations and providing election materials. Lorence has argued numerous times before the United States Supreme Court. 

The audience also heard from Bishop Harry Jackson of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96, Yorktown) and Attorney General Bob McDonnell. 

The Family Foundation, along with its pastor outreach arm, Pastors For Family Values, co-hosted the event. Pastors For Family Values provides support for pastors who speak on cultural issues and provide civil leadership. Pastors For Family Values formed in 2007 after Virginians in 2006 overwhelmingly voted to pass a Constitutional amendment defining marriage — as an outgrowth of pastoral involvement in that effort, several pastors of various denominations and ethnicities approached The Family Foundation with the concept of forming a pastors group.

It is absolutely essential for church leaders to take the lead and speak out on the values issues that shape our nation and our culture. While some organizations try to intimidate and discourage religious leaders from exercising their rights and freedoms in the political sphere, we urge them to reject those fear tactics and take a vocal stand on important issues. Only when our churches take a stand will we see our laws begin to reflect the traditional values our nation once stood upon.

Attendees left the "Watchmen on the Wall" conference excited and challenged. Nearly 20,000 church going Virginians were represented by the participating pastors. The impact these pastors and those church members can have on Virginia's political culture is enormous.

There is a tremendous amount of energy among pastors and church leaders and there is no question this energy will affect the congregations they represent. The potential impact of this energy and leadership cannot be underestimated. It isn't intended simply to affect one election or one campaign cycle but to bring change to an entire culture. This week was an important step toward that change.

Constitutional Rights Upheld, Another Victory For Religious Liberty

A federal court recently ruled in favor of Christian students in the Williamsburg-James City County School District after that district's superintendent unfairly charged them a fee for use of the district's facilities (read Richmond Times-Dispatch article here). The district school board ignored advice from Liberty Counsel, a Christian legal group, and now will have to cough up more than $20,000 in taxpayer money for legal fees to pay for its discrimination. The case was brought by the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Virginia after it was forced to pay fees for use of school facilities when other groups were allowed free access. Liberty Counsel warned the school district that it was discriminating, but the school district refused to listen. Liberty Counsel then brought suit and won in federal court.

Once again a school administration chose to act against religious liberty in the face of not only advice from a premier legal group, but also the United States Constitution and previous court rulings. It is unfortunate that the school administrator's decision will cost the taxpayers of that school district more $20,000 in  case it was destined to lose in addition to refunding the fees Child Evangelism Fellowship was forced to pay.

As The Family Foundation fought to pass legislation this year to protect the religious liberty rights of students in the classroom we were confronted over and over with the argument that "there isn't a problem" and that "religious expression thrives in Virginia."  We know this is not true. This case proves the point.

Unfortunately, some school administrators are outright hostile to religious expression, to the point of ignoring several cases that have well established "equal access" in case law, including cases that go back to the early 1980s, as well as the high profile Good News Club v. Milford Central School in 2001 (read case synopsis here). Exactly what are these school board attorneys advising if even non-legal experts are aware of this case law?

In Milford, the United States Supreme Court held that an outside religious club could meet at an elementary school after school hours because the school permitted other non-religious groups to meet at the same time and there was no perceived endorsement of the club's religious activity. 

However, unfortunately, many school administrators simply are ignorant. Virginia schools work under religious liberty guidelines drafted by then-Attorney General Jim Gilmore in the mid-1990s as well as the new Religious Liberty law we worked to pass during the 2008 General Assembly. Additionally, we currently are working with Attorney General Bob McDonnell's office in hopes that it will update those decade-old guidelines. 

Watchmen on the Wall Pastors Conference September 22-23 In Colonial Williamsburg

The Family Foundation of Virginia and the Family Research Council will host a regional "Watchmen on the Wall" Pastors Conference, this one in Williamsburg on September 22 and 23. It is one of the most exciting events with which The Family Foundation has ever been involved and, as of now, more than 160 Virginia pastors have registered. Interested pastors may register for this complimentary issues briefing by calling 1-800-225-4008 or by logging on to watchmenevents.org by clicking here. For additional information and a lineup of speakers, click here and see below.

The "Watchmen on the Wall" Pastors Conference will educate, encourage and motivate pastors to take their rightful place in the cultural debate. Confirmed speakers include FRC President Tony Perkins, Attorney General Bob McDonnellRev. Jonathan Falwell, Bishop Harry Jackson and Pastors For Family Values Chief Servant Bishop Gerald O. Glenn, among others. Those who have heard Bishop Glenn know that he alone makes it worth the time to attend. His presentations leave people incredibly challenged and blessed.

The conference will begin with an optional Spiritual Heritage Tour of Colonial Williamsburg, led by Stephen McDowell of the Providence Foundation, Monday evening, September 22. This will be a wonderful opportunity to hear the true history of one of our commonwealth's most historical sights and the birthplace of Virginia and American government.

The program on Tuesday, September 23 will feature a number of exciting speakers, opportunities to connect with other pastors and ministers from around Virginia, informative sessions on issues currently facing the church and the commonwealth, and information about the constitutional freedoms of pastors. It will take place at the Williamsburg Marriott. We and our sister organization, Pastors For Family Values, as well as FRC, look forward to meeting and getting to know scores of pastors of all denominations from around the Old Dominion next week.

Roundly Applauded For His Efforts

South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds wins our applause. Not only did he stand up to Planned Parenthood and for South Dakota law and innocent human life, he personally went to court to do so! Planned Parenthood filed for an injunction in South Dakota Federal District Court to prevent an informed consent law from going into effect (Planned Parenthood v. Rounds). The judge granted it. So Governor Rounds and Attorney General Larry Long appealed the decision the full U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The South Dakota law requires doctors to provide pregnant women who want an abortion a written statement that says:

Abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.

The court asked for evidence from each side. Governor Rounds and Attorney General Long did just that, according to Cybercast News. Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood's submitted evidence, from a bioethicist's affidavit, was viewed by the court as making the case for the law! The affidavit stated, in part:

. . . to describe an embryo or fetus scientifically and factually, one would say that a living embryo or fetus in utero is a developing organism of the species Homo Sapiens which may become a self-sustaining member of the species if no organic or environmental evidence interrupts its gestation.  

The Eighth Circuit voted  7-4 to strike down the 2005 injunction, allowing the law to take effect (opinion here). Planned Parenthood's response was to say women should be able to make health care decisions "free from political interference." Right.

This story has received scant media attention, aside from a brief mention by Brit Hume on Fox News Channel's Special Report "Political Grapevine" segment and on Cybercast News. But it certainly should give pro-life advocates and Attorney General Bob McDonnell some hope in the commonwealth's appeal to the full U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend Virginia's partial birth abortion ban.

Congrats Tertium Quids

We like to think this lil' ol' Internet-age broadsheet of ours has made a lot of progress in about eight-and-a-half months. It has. But nothing like the even younger Tertium Quids blog. We admit we're partial to Norman Leahy's prose and the general way of thinking there and at its sister organization, The Virginia Institute for Public Policy, but there's no denying the run they're on. A couple weeks ago they started podcasts with great interviews with newsmakers such as Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax), Attorney General Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and new Republican Party of Virginia Chairman, Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-52, Woodbridge).

Then, yesterday, at the monthly Tuesday Morning Group meeting, sponsored by VIPP, TQ blog maestro Leahy announced plans for a weekly Web-streamed radio show, featuring guests and caller questions. News to follow here as it gets closer to launch. We've always looked forward to reading TQ's point-of-view. Now we're equally excited about hearing it.

Let The Tax Games Begin!

The start of the Special Tax Session of the General Assembly begins in hours. Enjoy the fun. We'll chronicle it here, so please check back as developments warrant. It all gets started in the morning with what should be a blast: Americans For Prosperity is hosting an anti-tax rally at the bell tower in Capitol Square. Attorney General Bob McDonnell will be one of the speakers. People from all over the state are expected, so if you can swing it, come on by. Your friendly admin will be there, so take a chance and try to pick me out. I'd love to meet any and all.

The rally includes free lunch. Get it? Governor Tim Kaine has been telling voters at his town hall meetings that there's no free lunch — when he's not telling them to stay off the roads if they don't agree with his $1 billion tax increase — even though we've been paying for a lot of government we don't want and never asked for (pre-K, anyone?).

So, remember: Even if you can't make the rally tomorrow, it is important you remind your delegates and senators and the governor himself of what you think about any and all ideas that require you to involuntarily part with your family's hard-earned money for more government waste and inefficiency. After all, the pro-taxers and their big business and developer lobby allies will be pressing hard to separate you from it, so you need to do your part. It may sound like an game, but in an Olympic year, sports analogies may be apt. Defeating these folks will take an Olympian effort.

One last thought: When the pro-taxers claim, as Governor Kaine did on his last "Ask The Governor" call-in show on WRVA-1140/AM, that Virginia is one of the lowest tax states in the union (although debatable because of all the recent tax increases), so we need to pay more, they are equating our tax bills with a poor performance indicator, such as low educational test scores — as if our tax rate is something we need to get up to the national average. No, no! Repeat after me, mistah guvna: Low tax, good; high tax bad; me no rede an rite bad; me read and write good.

Interviews For Your Convenience

Even though our blog is young, we're proud that we've been able to secure a number of exclusive interviews with significant newsmakers, including statewide office holders such as Attorney General Bob McDonnell and Lieutennent Governor Bill Bolling, party chairmen, General Assembly leaders and a national political strategist. A few of these interviews made the news themselves. (Click here for The Washington Post's mention of our interview with Delegate Jeff Frederick (R-52, Woodbridge) when he announced his candidacy for Republican Party of Virginia chairman; or here for Black Velvet Bruc Li's comment on our interview with state Democrat Chairman Richard Cranwell; and also this one from Right Wing Liberal on Chairman Cranwell.) That these people are willing to speak directly to our audience says a lot about you, our readers, and your feedback has been very positive. More interesting interviews are on the way with General Assembly members, but also with reporters in the mainstream media (should be interesting!) and local officials who are doing exemplary work in their communities, whose successes and conservative ideas for solutions need to be shared to a broader audience. We also hope to have a national political figure or two, religious leaders and people from different walks of life who are playing big roles in affecting our culture and public policy.

In the meantime, in order to make reading these electronic conversations easier, we have created an Interviews category to archive them so you can more conveniently find them. We hope you take time to read some of the older interviews if you haven't already and let us know what you think. Also, feel free to suggest names of Virginia leaders, policy makers, media types or other individuals you'd like to hear from. 

Also of note, check our growing blogroll, as we continue to strive to become your one-stop shop, your portal of Virginia politics. (Make us your home page!) Among our latest additions is Alton Foley's highly regarded I'm Not Emeril. We hope you give it a visit. 

Breaking: AG McDonnell To Appeal Partial Birth Abortion Ruling To Full Fourth Circuit Court Of Appeals

Below is the news release issued earlier this morning by Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell concerning his decision to appeal the 2-1 ruling earlier this month by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down Virginia's partial birth abortion ban. 

McDonnell Announces Virginia to Petition for Rehearing of Partial-Birth Abortion Case by Full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

-Move Follows Divided Panel Decision by Same Court Striking down Virginia's Partial-Birth Abortion Ban-

Richmond - Attorney General Bob McDonnell announced today that the Commonwealth of Virginia will ask the full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision of a divided panel of the court that struck down Virginia's ban on partial-birth abortion.

Speaking about the decision, Attorney General McDonnell noted, "It is my belief that Virginia's partial-birth abortion ban, passed overwhelmingly by the people's elected representatives in the General Assembly, is constitutional. Given the significance of the issues at stake, and the fact that the United States Supreme Court recently upheld a very similar federal ban on the procedure, the full court should review the ruling by the divided three-judge panel."

On May 20th a three-judge panel of the Court ruled 2-1 against the Commonwealth's partial-birth abortion ban, passed by the General Assembly in 2003. Following this decision the Commonwealth had two options in proceeding: petition for a rehearing by the full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, or appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The petition for rehearing by the full Fourth Circuit will be filed on Monday, June 2, 2008. The Court is expected to rule in approximately a month or two on whether the full court will review the case on the merits. If it does, it will schedule oral argument, most likely in the fall. The case is titled Richmond Medical Center v. Herring.

We applaud this very appropriate and reasoned appeal to this horrendous decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit panel which trashes the rights of the most vulnerable and innocent among us; and which lacks deference to the overwhelming will of Virginians through its elected legislature (more than two-thirds of each General Assembly chamber), as well as to the Constitution of the United States as interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States, which upheld a similar law.

Breaking: Fourth Circuit Court Strikes Down Virginia's Partial Birth Abortion Ban 2-1

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Virginia's partial birth ban by 2-1 decision in Richmond Medical Center v. Herring. (Read the opinion here.) This is horrible news. Hopefully, Attorney General Bob McDonnell will appeal to the full court or to the United States Supreme Court. After all, this case was heard because of a Supreme Court ruling that upheld another partial birth abortion ban. Read our summary of the hearing in early November here, as well as more impressions we had after the oral arguments here. (On those threads are links to legal opinions and audio of oral arguments in other key pro-life cases which played a role in this hearing.)

The decision was somewhat expected given the dispositions of Judges Diana Motz and M. Blane Michael, whose questions toward Virginia Solicitor General William Thro were clearly antagonistic. Judge Paul Neimeyer, on the other hand, seemed through his questioning, inclined toward upholding the law. Accordingly, the former two judges voted to overturn the law and the latter voted to sustain it.

More to come, possibly today, definitely tomorrow.