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.”