From AG Mark Herring’s office:
Attorney General Herring has filed a motion to dismiss in Senator Amanda Chase’s lawsuit seeking to overturn her censure by the Virginia Senate that occurred on January 27, 2021, following Chase’s participation in events surrounding the insurrection at the United States Capitol. In the brief, Attorney General Herring argues that, “…the Senate acted entirely consistently with its own rules when considering and approving the resolution of censure.”
In his motion to dismiss, Attorney General Herring details the events that lead to Chase’s censure saying, “[o]n January 6, 2021, plaintiff participated in a rally that directly preceded an insurrection that ‘led to multiple deaths, including that of a United States Capitol Police officer; injured numerous others; desecrated the United States Capitol; resulted in property destruction; threatened the lives and safety of those who are entrusted with carrying out the will of the American people; and required an emergency response from 200 Virginia State Troopers and 1,300 members of the Virginia National Guard, who were put in harm’s way to quell the violence and restore order.’”
Attorney General Herring also explains that, following the events at the Capitol, Chase refused to condemn the actions that took place and actually praised those involved: “[i]n the aftermath of the insurrection, plaintiff repeatedly voiced her support for those who stormed the Capitol, calling them ‘[p]atriots who love their country’ and ‘propagating unfounded claims regarding the nature of the events, the identities of those who took part, and the validity of the presidential election.’” Adding that, “[p]laintiff also ‘declined’ an opportunity ‘to specifically denounce and repudiate those individuals at the January 6 riot who (i) were proponents of white supremacy; (ii) wore T-shirts and other attire emblazoned with anti-Semitic messaging; and (iii) breached the United States Capitol grounds barricades, broke into the Capitol when the United States Congress was in session, and disturbed and defaced the Capitol.’”
Attorney General Herring concludes his brief by saying, “[p]laintiff complains that, absent this litigation, she has ‘no remedy’ for her censure by the body of which she is a member…Because censure is fundamentally a political proceeding conducted by a legislative body, plaintiff’s remedy for any alleged wrongs must be a political one rather than ‘a public fight in a court of law.’ As the Supreme Court explained in a similar suit alleging legislative malfeasance, ‘[s]elf-discipline and the voters must be the ultimate reliance for discouraging or correcting [any] abuses.’”
Earlier this year, Attorney General Herring issued an advisory opinion confirming that “[e]ach body of the Virginia General Assembly possesses broad power to discipline and, where it judges appropriate, expel member legislators.” Attorney General Herring issued the opinion in response to a question about whether the General Assembly had the authority to discipline or expel legislators who may have contributed to the January 6th insurrection at the United States Capitol.