Republicans in Virginia have made good on their threats and officially filed their lawsuit against the restoration of voting rights for former felons.
GOP leaders argue in a lawsuit that they are filing in the Virginia Supreme Court on Monday that Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order violates the separation of powers by effectively suspending the state’s ban on felons.
They say governors can restore voting rights only on a case-by-case basis.
McAuliffe has stood by his action, arguing there’s nothing in Virginia’s Constitution that limits him to restoring rights on an individualized basis.
I’m not intimately familiar with Virginia’s state Constitution but I can say the GOP’s arguments against McAuliffe’s actions are so nakedly partisan it could be difficult to convince the court that their lawsuit is not politically motivated.
Virtually every Republican you can stick in front of a camera has said that restoring voting rights to former felons is a Democratic scheme to win elections, but that’s not much of a legal argument.
If Democrats truly can depend on former felons to unanimously vote for them, why is that? Is there something about the Republican party platform that turns them off? Why wouldn’t former felons be interested in voting for a party that seemingly believes they should be condemned for life for committing a non-violent offense?
The GOP may be flirting with decriminalization now that drug abuse is hitting rural white communities hard, but they’d still prefer to permanently erase a significant portion of black men from the electorate.