Home Social Issues Stunner: Cooch’s Office Rips Corey Stewart’s “Rule of Law” Resolution to Shreds

Stunner: Cooch’s Office Rips Corey Stewart’s “Rule of Law” Resolution to Shreds


Earlier today, I was forwarded a copy of an analysis by the Virginia Attorney General’s Office on Prince William County’s anti-“illegal immigrant,” so-called “Rule of Law” resolution. What I expected to see was a bunch of “absolutely correct” and “brilliant legal reasoning!” from our right-wing nutjob Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli. Instead, what Cooch’s office issued was the exact opposite – a blistering critique that essentially rips PW County chair Corey Stewart and Company’s “Rule of Law” resolution to shreds.

See here for a side-by-side matrix that quotes on the left from Corey Stewart’s “Rule of Law” resolution, and states on the right what Cooch’s office thinks of it. I asked a smart Virginia Democratic attorney friend of mine what he thought, and here’s what he wrote:

Basically, the OAG analysis systematically and methodically tears to shreds what Stewart is proposing–for different kinds of reasons. Sometimes, the OAG tears it to shreds because the powers it is trying to grant already exist under Virginia or Federal law. (As a substantive policy matter, the fact that the powers already exist may not be a good thing, but OAG is pointing out that Stewart is so dumb he didn’t realize these powers already exist.)

Sometimes, the OAG tears it because the powers it is trying to grant risk being struck down as violations of the U.S. Constitution. (Again, making Stewart look dumb for sponsoring something that raises such problems.)

So, my take is that Cooch views Stewart as a political rival whom he doesn’t want to see grow any more in stature, and so Cooch is using his OAG office to kneecap Stewart.

I agree 100% with that brilliant analysis, so I’ll just add a few choice quotes (on the “flip”) from Cooch’s opinion, and leave it at that. Enjoy the shredding! (also, see Cooch’s letter to Del. Lingamfelter and Lingamfelter’s letter to Corey Stewart.)

*”Paragraph (D) is unnecessary because law enforcement already has authority to transport prisoners, and there appears to be no need for this additional provision specifically related to persons illegally present in the United States.”

*”Paragraph (H) would violate the Virginia Constitution, which requires that any such fees must go to the state literary fund

*”Paragraph (J) raises potential equal protection concerns, because it specifically differentiates between United States citizens and other persons in protecting privileges and immunities…This section creates sweeping new classes of felonies and will have a significant fiscal impact…In addition, many of the definitions within the section create overbreadth concerns and could be portrayed as criminalizing legitimate behavior not intended by the drafter…Additionally, the provisions of this section may have the unintended consequence of securing visas (or at least visa application delays of deportation) for those unlawfully present.”

*”Paragraph (G)(1) contains a reference to “Superior Court”; there is no such court in Virginia.”

*”It is unnecessary to create a new crime that may raise federalism concerns.”

*”The provisions of this section raise significant ex post facto/takings concerns that are not easily addressed through revision or redrafting.”

  • see the superb 9500 Liberty by my friends Annabel Park and Eric Byler.

  • DanielK

    First off, Cooch’s response to the Virginia Rule of Law Act should demonstrate that Corey Stewart’s ultimate motivation behind this is nothing more than racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric behind disguised as public safety or whatever else he wants to call it.  Or, and this is also quite probable, that Corey Stewart simply is too blind and refuses to acknowledge that Virginia has done everything they can to deal with criminal illegal aliens without over stepping their constitutional bounds. Virginia has shown, and Cooch acknowledges that Virginia’s participation in the Secure Communities Program addresses everything in Stewart’s proposed bill and it’s nothing more than a waste of time for the General Assembly to address it. And, since the Obama administration doesn’t allow an “opt out” like Arlington attempted to do then we can rest assured that Secure Communities will do it’s job by going after CRIMINAL illegal aliens and not small, petty offenders or illegals simply trying to live a productive life without breaking the law.

    Also, since Cooch has pretty much called Stewart not very bright or smart without saying it directly (See his comment about “Superior Court” in Virginia) we must also remember that Republicans are still trying to push smaller bills very similar to VA Rule of Rule just as Dave Albo’s HB 1420, 1421 and 1430.  Essentially these bills will require all Troopers to be 287 g trained, deal with “sanctuary cities” and and require a immigration query for anyone arrested but released on a summons.  I am actually writing a paper for a college course in opposing HB 1420 and HB 1421 (didn’t have room to address 1430) and after doing it I’m stunned anyone would be proposing it.  I’ll share it last next month.

  • Tom

    Corey still can’t seem to get the distinction between a Federal civil law violation, which is what an undocumented alien might be guilty of and a criminal law violation which is the ONLY violation that permits arrest (as opposed to simply a summons to appear in court). It is definitely a constitutional violation to arrest a suspect on suspicion of violation of a civil law.

    The big problem with requiring either a county police force such as the PWC police department (or a Sheriff’s office in the case of Arizona) to arrest a person suspected of violating a Federal civil law is that arrest is not a legal option, they have to have evidence that a person may have committed a crime. Civil law violation does not make a person a CRIMINAL. So, Corey among other things is proposing that the Va. state police put themselves at risk of being sued for false arrest if they can’t show cause for suspicion of having committed a CRIME if they could be required to arrest a person on suspicion of being an illegal alien (i.e., a civil not a criminal law violation). I think I got a bit repetitive and much too wordy here, but I think Corey really has a very poor understanding of the law and both the Va. state constitution and U.S. Constitution with respect to the limits of police arrest powers as well as the obvious fact that he until now didn’t realize that Va. does not have a “Superior Court” which leads me to believe that Corey’s knowledge of the court system comes mainly from the TV shows he watches, not from his legal training. One has to wonder what Corey’s legal specialty is that would cause a major law firm to pay him to work for them at all. They must be embarrassed about the publicity surrounding Corey’s ignorance of the Va. judicial system, or his overall stupidity in general.

    I guess Kooch must think Corey is serious competition for the U.S. Senate nomination to have even bothered to call Corey out so publicly. Too much fun to watch ! Thanks Cooch and Corey for the entertaining diversion.


  • Teddy Goodson

    on seeing the headline was exactly the conclusion of the Democratic attorney: Cuccinelli is knee-capping a probable rival for state office. I think we need to go further, however. The takedown is another example, if we needed any, of Cuccinelli’s self-conscious brilliance, so much admired by his adherents; he frequently uses his obvious cleverness to intimidate and bully those he regards as being of lesser intelligence.

    I am sure, however, Cuccinelli is looking ahead, and we all know the immigration question is important in conservative circles, and the failure of the feds to devise an answer satisfactory to conservatives, much like health care, is one button right wingers push during elections. Therefore, I expect the brilliant Mr. Cuccinelli will roll out his own states’ rights, conservative answer to the perceived immigration problem, something that will be divisive, will challenge the federal government, and openly rev up his rightie base. What could it be? Not being a lawyer, much less a constitutional lawyer, I have not the slightest idea, but I have a feeling that we have not heard the last of this matter.

    It is too tempting a topic, an oppostunity, after this public, humiliating dissection of Mr. Stewart’s amateurish effort, for Cuccinelli to show Mr. Stewart how it should be done when an intelligent adult tackles the problem.

  • blue bronc

    and search those for evidence, text, e-mail or visual media, of illegal activities.

    The story is just out so it needs more info.

    CH Cooch has blown away the 1st and 4th Amendments in VA for students, and I would guess anyone on or off school grounds who was in communication with that student.