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Senator McEachin Reminds the Governor that Nullification Has Been Deemed Unconstitutional

The DPVA remains asleep at the switch, but fortunately, Sen. McEachin is willing and able to speak out against the latest lunacy from Pat Robertson's Manchurian candidate/governor.
Richmond - Today, Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) responded to Governor McDonnell's comments in Roanoke yesterday (as quoted by the Roanoke Times) that he "declined" to express an opinion on the legitimacy of nullification. Senator McEachin said, "I am extremely dismayed and concerned that our governor has apparently neglected to review recent American history or leading Supreme Court cases. Not even sixty years ago, in a response to attempts to ignore Brown v. Board of Education in which African-American children were first given the opportunity for an equal integrated education with white children, the Supreme Court ruled on Cooper v. Aaron. In this extremely significant case, the Court ruled that because the Supremacy Clause of Article VI made the United States Constitution the Supreme law of the land and Marbury v. Madison gave the Supreme Court the final power of judicial review, then all states are bound by federal law and bound by Supreme Court decisions.

"But even if the Governor has forgotten these Constitutional law principles, he should surely recall the amount of blood spilled, families and homes decimated and young men killed the last time states made foolish decisions based on nullification. Surely, as governor of Virginia which is criss-crossed with battlefields and graveyards of those who died fighting in that war and those who died trying to protect their homes and families and the numbers of slaves and free blacks who died trying to protect their loved ones and their few and meager possessions, he should know that no good can come of this kind of foolish and dangerous talk.

"We are Americans, proud to be part of the greatest democracy on earth, and if we disagree we have legal, political and legislative means to resolve those disagreements.  Living in a democracy means that if we don't like what is happening we will have an election and we can peaceably, within our Constitutional procedures and rights, address those grievances.

"Finally, like every other elected official, Governor McDonnell took an oath to uphold the US Constitution and all the Articles and clauses within that document.  Nullification is not legal and declining to respond is not acceptable. I expect our governor to uphold the law and the Constitution and to refute unconstitutional and illegal drivel when he hears it."

Sen. McEachin: Del. Gilbert’s Chesapeake Bay Conspiracy Comments “Utter Nonsense”

Great stuff as always from Sen. Donald McEachin, this time blasting back at an anti-environment Republican delegate's "utter nonsense" - this time, a supposed "conspiracy" with regard to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. Uh, yeah, right.
Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) today released this statement countering Delegate
Todd's remarks about the Chesapeake Bay over the past weekend. Senator McEachin said, "I was dismayed to hear that yet another Republican has joined the Republican efforts to turn back the clock and not do what is critically necessary to protect the Chesapeake Bay. This time it's Delegate Todd Gilbert who is doing his best to create misplaced fear with false accusations. Just this past weekend he told a group of young farmers that attempts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay are really a conspiracy of "urban" legislators to take farms away and destroy farmers' "heritage."

"This is, of course, utter nonsense. Cleaning up the Bay will protect farmers by ensuring they have a clean water source for their crops. Moreover, a clean Chesapeake Bay will protect other critical jobs here in the Commonwealth. Watermen need a clean Bay for their fishing businesses to prosper. Tourism depends on access to clean unpolluted waters."

Congratulations Sen. McEachin. The Rest of This List? Not So Much.

Congratulations to Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), one of the best public servants in Virginia, for being named to Style Weekly's Power List 2010. McEachin clocks in at #37, with Style Weekly writing:
A liberal Democrat is a strange candidate to ride the coattails of conservative activist Ken Cuccinelli (No. 43), but lawyer and state Sen. Don McEachin has parlayed himself into the Republican establishment's critic-in-chief and expanded his profile over the national airwaves. He's pushed back on the opposition party's handling of issues including health care and climate change. He's already run for statewide office and lost, but he'll be back.
That's great news and I'm really glad to see it. As for the rest of the list? The CEO of Dominion Power, Thomas Farrell, #1? Rep. Eric Cantor #4? Gov. Bob McDonnell #6? Del. Kirkland Cox #25? Attorney General Ken Kook-inelli # 39?  McDonnell Senior Economic Advisor Robert Sledd #50?  Not so much.

Donald McEachin Forms “Believe in Virginia PAC”

Late last week, the Washington Post reported that "State Sen. Don McEachin has launched a new political action committee, Believe in Virginia PAC, as he aims to help Democratic candidates running in legislative races next year."  I contacted Sen. McEachin's office for more details, and received the following statement:
The Believe in Virginia PAC is a PAC formed by Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico)  to support candidates and activities. Senator McEachin believes that Virginians are fair and open-minded and want a Virginia that reflects those values. This PAC will contribute to candidates, organizations and activities who want to improve the environment, support and improve public education, devise and implement a real transportation plan, create jobs and provide ALL Virginians equal opportunity, justice and fairness.

Senator McEachin said, "It's about time that folks put their actions and resources where their mouths are. Since I have been strongly speaking about the administration and its actions and for progressive values, it's time to support those values with my efforts and my resources. I intend to work to recruit and assist candidates, support activities and activists, and promote legislation that reflects a Virginia of which we can be proud."

I'm very happy to see this from Sen. McEachin. The fact is, since November 2009 -- when Virginia Democrats suffered through one of their worst elections in many years -- Sen. McEachin has stepped up and been one of the most vocal leaders of what Howard Dean used to call "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party."  As such, Sen. McEachin has been a forceful, articulate critic of Bob McDonnell's "Confederate History Month," of Ken Cuccinelli's "ludicrous" lawsuit against clean cars, and of course against Cooch's "ludicrous and frivolous" assault against climate scientist Michael Mann. In addition, Sen. McEachin has pressed Ken Cuccinelli to return $50,000 in tainted contributions from the shady U.S. Navy Veterans Association. And McEachin has called out Fred Malek for his "recent illegal behavior."

In addition to (justifiably and necessarily) criticizing McDonnell and Cooch, Sen. McEachin also has been an active, articulate advocate for progressive values. For instance, see here for McEachin's opposition to Del. Bob Marshall's assault against the new health care law.  Also, see here for Sen. McEachin's passionate defense of "the poor...those how are vulnerable...those who live in the margins." That's exactly why many of us are Democrats, not Republicans, as Sen. McEachin clearly understands.  We'll see where this new PAC leads, whether to effective assistance for progressive candidates, to Sen. McEachin's own run for statewide office, or to a Virginia we can all believe in.  Perhaps it will lead to all of the above?  We can only hope. Stay tuned...

Cranwell, McEachin, Armstrong Call On Cooch To Return Tainted $50,000

I just got off a conference call with Virginia Democratic leaders regarding Ken Cuccinelli's refusal to donate tainted contributions from the "questionable and potentially corrupt" U.S. Navy Veterans Association. To date, Governor McDonnell and Senator Ticer have returned donations from this "organization," while the Veterans Administration - at the request of Senator Webb - has pulled the group's page from its website.  The VA also says it "will conduct a review of the group as well as a review of procedures used to screen organizations before they are listed on the VA website."  Last but not least, the U.S. Navy Veterans Association is already being investigated in New Mexico, Missouri and Florida, "following an investigation by the St. Petersburg Times revealing that 84 of 85 national and state directors listed in the charity's tax filings and other records appear not to exist."

Apparently, none of that is sufficient evidence for Ken Cuccinelli - who launches investigations at the drop of a hat about climate change scientists and other things he doesn't like - to return a huge, $50,000 contribution he received from the U.S. Navy Veterans Association.  On the conference call a few minutes ago, DPVA Executive Director Dickie Cranwell said it is "difficult to understand" why Cuccinelli won't do the same thing as McDonnell and Ticer and donate the money to a reputable veterans organization. According to Cranwell, "it's time, period."

Sen. Donald McEachin added that there are "incredibly serious allegations" against this group, and that the AG should have a higher standard than waiting until a group has been committed of a crime. That may or may not happen, but in the meantime, this group is being investigated by three other states. At the minimum, McEachin believes, the AG should return the $50,000 and encourage the Office of Consumer Affairs to investigate.

House Minority Leader Ward Armstrong noted that Cuccinelli is "not constrained by petty consistency," being quite willing to launch an investigation of a former UVA climate scientist with whom he "disagrees" on the science.  Meanwhile, this supposed veterans organization is being investigated for fraud!  Where is Cuccinelli on that?!? Apparently, according to Ward Armstrong, Cuccinelli can spend money going after professors, but can't go after this group. Perhaps, Armstrong mused, there's a connection between the $50,000 contribution and the fact that Cuccinelli isn't investigatin?  There's certainly not the same "haste and zeal" in this case as in the climate scientist situation, that's for sure, even though there's - at the minimum - an "appearance of impropriety" here.

Finally, former Hampton Roads Veterans & Military Families for Obama leader Stephanie Marushia pointed out that the longer this goes on, the more it could hurt fundraising at legitimate veterans' organizations.  That's why Cuccinelli needs to "donate that money now" to a legitimate veterans' organization, and also have the AG's office investigate.  Right now, this is setting a bad example and demonstrating bad judgment.  

McEachin: Cooch’s Assault on Prof. Mann “ludicrous and frivolous”

Great statement by Sen. Donald McEachin. I agree 100%, and look forward to the General Assembly passing legislation to rein in our out-of-control Attorney General.
Senator McEachin Says the Attorney General Should Allow Virginians Their Constitutional Rights and Liberties

Richmond- Senator A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) today issued a statement condemning Attorney General Cuccinelli's harassment of the University of Virginia scientist, Professor Mann. Senator McEachin said, "This is not only ludicrous and frivolous, wasting more taxpayer dollars and trampling on academic freedom, but the Attorney General has deprived Mr. Mann of his constitutional rights. In this country, based on our Constitution, we have an adversarial system of justice that gives defendants certain rights. Those rights include the ability to ask the plaintiff for information, to file motions and, most importantly, to have a frivolous lawsuit quashed. However, because the Attorney General, who has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the Virginia Constitution, as he has frequently reminded us, has chosen to ignore and circumvent that system, Mr. Mann has lost those rights. If Attorney General Cuccinelli had filed this as a lawsuit and then issued subpoenas based on that lawsuit, Mr. Mann would be able to ask the judge to dismiss the lawsuit and, in the small likelihood it was not dismissed as ludicrous, Professor Mann could then file his own motions and request certain information from the Attorney General. If he can go after Professor Mann, then no Virginian is safe from the oppressive reach of the Attorney General's strong arm and the invasive powers of his office."

Video: Donald McEachin on Rachel Maddow Show

Sen. Donald McEachin comes on around 7 minutes into the video, but watch the entire thing, including the part about Ken Cuccinelli speaking at "The Awakening" on April 15 at Liberty University. Fascinating.

Exclusive Blue Virginia Interview: Sen. Donald McEachin

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak with Sen. Donald McEachin (D-9th) for about 35-40 minutes. We covered a number of subjects, here are the highlights, paraphrasing or quoting what Sen. McEachin had to say.

*With regard to Massey Energy, Sen. McEachin believes that Attorney General Cuccinelli certainly has the power to look at Virginia-based companies' safety records within Virginia. Depending on where the safety violations take place, that will determine what course of action the Attorney General takes.

*In addition, there's no doubt that the AG has the power of the "bully pulpit" to speak out about companies like Massey. That's precisely what the AG should be doing.

*In general, Cuccinelli clearly is trying to pander to (and deliver for) his "base." He is definitely a "true believer," as is Bob McDonnell.  

*McDonnell and Cuccinelli are forgetting the "first rule of politics," which is "don't make yourself into a punch line."

*McDonnell and Cuccinelli are embarrassing Virginia, and this can't help matters when it comes to economic development.

*"I am truly surprised at how badly they're handling themselves on so many things."

Much more after the "flip"

McEachin Blasts Cooch for “Ludicrous” Lawsuit on Clean Cars

The following statement is from Environment Virginia. See in particular Sen. Donald McEachin's statement (after the "flip") that he is "frustrated and dismayed" by Ken Cuccinelli's "ludicrous lawsuits that waste time and money." That includes, apparently, yet another lawsuit, this time against higher fuel economy standards for automobiles. As Sen. McEachin points out, Cuccinelli is focusing on these time-and-money-wasting lawsuits, "[r]ather than protect Virginians from internet predators, consumer fraud and identity theft."

White House Shows Leadership on Clean Cars

Congress Urged to Protect New Standards by Rejecting Efforts to Weaken Clean Air Act

Richmond - In a huge win for Virginia's environment, public health and national security, the Obama administration today announced new standards for automobile fuel economy and global warming emissions. An Environment Virginia analysis found that these new federal standards - based on the "clean cars program" developed by California and adopted by 13 other states - will save Virginians 324 million gallons of gasoline by 2016 as compared to the previous federal standards, while reducing emissions of global warming pollutants and providing a net economic savings to consumers.

"Thanks to President Obama's leadership, the cars of tomorrow will be cleaner and cost less to fuel than the cars of today," said Environment Virginia Advocate J.R. Tolbert. "Today's announcement is the direction that America should be taking when addressing our energy needs. Rather than drilling off our coastlines we should prioritize conservation and renewable energy when meeting the nation's energy needs."

The rest of the statement is after the "flip"

McEachin On Cooch Wasting Our Money

"Those lawyers that are going to be working on this lawsuit are going to be using their time, which is what we pay them to do to work for the state of Virginia on a frivolous action, when they could be tracking down bad predatory lenders, they could be taking aim at internet predators, they're going to be engaged in a lawsuit that is doomed to failure..."

h/t: Decision Virginia