Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who died and left Ken Cuccinelli king?

We are apparently living during the reign of King Ken I.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, aided and abetted by his liegeman Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas), has apparently hatched a plan to rule Virginia via attorney general's opinion.

That has the advantage of not only circumventing those troublesome varlets in the General Assembly but the increasingly irrelevant Gov. Bob McDonnell, who probably mistook last year's election results as putting him in charge of state government.

Shows how little he knows.

The Cuccinelli/Marshall's coalition's latest power grab is an attorney general's opinion, requested by Marshall of course, that opines that the state already has the power to regulate abortion clinics in the same way it regulates hospitals and out-patient surgery centers. Current state law applies to facilities that perform second and third-trimester abortions, but not to facilities that perform only first-trimester abortions. Cuccinelli says the state already has that power.

That's interesting. Marshall certainly didn't think the state had that power when he repeatedly introduced legislation that would have given the state such authority. That legislation was defeated in the General Assembly.

I guess that's why Marshall and Cuccinelli, also an ardent abortion foe, would prefer to rule the state by edict. So much more efficient than that messy democracy stuff.

In Virginia, an attorney general's opinion, which can only be requested by an eligible party such as a state legislator or local elected government, is treated as the state of the law until a court rules otherwise.

However, Marshall and Cuccinelli may have made an oversight in their latest attempt to circumvent the democratic process. While the attorney general can issue his opinion, he can't force the Department of Health Professions to promulgate regulations for abortion providers. The department doesn't work for him. Cuccinelli and Marshall are Republicans who embrace a philosophy that hates government. I guess they can't be expected to know how it works.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cuccinelli, health care and driving while brown

Monday was a big day for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, quickly becoming one of the darlings of the Tea Party nationwide.

First, a federal judge refused to throw out Cuccinelli's challenge to the federal health care reform law. That sets up an October court hearing on the  constitutionality of the law.

Although hailed as a huge victory in the Republican blogosphere and on Fox News, the ruling was really a procedural matter. It was also made by a Bush-appointed judge considered something of a right-winger and who, according to Huffington Post, may have financial ties to Cuccinelli.

The judge ruled that because the passage of the federal health insurance reform law directly conflicted with a law passed by the General Assembly this year --in anticipation of the federal legislation -- that asserted that Virginia citizens could not be compelled to buy health insurance, Cuccinelli had standing to bring a lawsuit in defense of Virginia's law. The judge also ruled against claims by the federal government that the suit was not "ripe" because the health care reform legislation will not take effect until 2014.

That sets up a showdown likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

It also sets up Cuccinelli to become a hero to the anti-Obama Tea Party movement nationwide, enhancing his chances for election to future state or national office.

The state law that conflicts with the health care reform bill is the handiwork of Cuccinelli ally Del. Bob Mashall (R-Manassas). Marshall was also involved in  the other Cuccinelli action that made national news Monday. At the request of Marshall, Cuccinelli issued an opinion that law enforcement officers in Virginia have the authority to inquire into the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest. That's the issue in question in Arizona's controversial immigration bill, often called the "driving while brown" bill, parts of which were thrown out by a federal judge last week.

Cuccinelli's opinion is that Virginia's officers already have that authority, they don't need a new law.

Bookmark and Share