Saturday, July 23, 2016

Voted Off The Island

So apparently Virginia's Supreme Court has no problem taking the right to vote away from thousands of people.

The Supreme Court of Virginia on Friday struck down Gov. Terry McAuliffe's sweeping executive order that restored voting rights to more than 206,000 Virginia felons.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court declared McAuliffe's order unconstitutional, saying it amounts to a unilateral rewrite and suspension of the state's policy of lifetime disenfranchisement for felons.

The court ordered the Virginia Department of Elections to "cancel the registration of all felons who have been invalidly registered" under McAuliffe's April 22 executive order and subsequent orders. As of this week, 11,662 felons had registered to vote under McAuliffe's orders. The court gave a cancellation deadline of Aug. 25.

"Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia Governors issued a clemency order of any kind — including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders — to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request," Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote in the majority opinion.

"To be sure, no Governor of this Commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists. And the only Governors who have seriously considered the question concluded that no such power exists."

The ruling is a potentially fatal blow to an executive action that could have been a highlight of McAuliffe's gubernatorial legacy.

"He spent 90 days bragging about this being the high point of his governorship," said Del. Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle, who's running for attorney general in 2017. "And the court made it very clear that he acted unconstitutionally."

Governors have no unilateral right of clemency?  Well, okay then.

Maybe it's because the majority of the people getting back their right to vote under McAuliffe's executive order are black?  Just going to put that out there.

Virginia has always kinda had a problem with that.

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