Voter Suppression

Virginia Republicans File Their Lawsuit Against Voting Rights

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.

  • LTanya Spearman
    • Christopher Foxx

      Congressional district boundaries should be decided by computer model. Take the politics out of it and have boundaries decided by standard algorithm.

      It takes the number of districts, divides the state up into that many equal sized pieces (as close to as possible given the irregular shape of states) and then makes adjustments based on population density and obvious geographic features like rivers and highways. And that’s it. No stretching and distorting of things to lump disperse towns together just because of what their politics happen to be.

  • muselet

    Erm …

    GOP leaders said Monday that the governor’s action is already having potentially harmful unintended consequences, citing a recent Washington Post story that said it has made it easier for ex-felons to have their gun rights restored. Without having to go through the process of having their civil rights reinstated, felons who’ve finished their sentences can now go straight to a judge and ask for their gun rights back, the newspaper reported.

    Isn’t the R line that everyone should be armed at all times? I’d have thought the restoration of gun rights to a significant number of people would be a source of great joy and celebration.

    Odd, that.

    More seriously, it will be interesting to see how the Virginia Supreme Court handles the hot potato it just got tossed.

    –alopecia

    • Christopher Foxx

      Isn’t the R line that everyone should be armed at all times? I’d have thought the restoration of gun rights to a significant number of people would be a source of great joy and celebration.

      You’d think so. I wonder if they have, perhaps, some sort of darker view of the types of folks who have served time.

      • muselet

        I see what you did there.

        –alopecia