Delegate Bob Marshall has begun a campaign to impeach Attorney General Mark Herring.
"I introduced resolutions in the Virginia House of Delegates directing two Standing Committees to make inquiry into whether actions of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring constitute impeachable offenses under the Constitution of Virginia.
Unfortunately, Republican “Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, quickly said through a spokesman that he does not support impeachment proceedings against the attorney general.” [Richmond Times, 5-17-14]
IMPEACHMENT BACKGROUND: Mr. Herring's duties as Attorney General are set out in Article V, Section 15 of the Constitution of Virginia, the statutes of Virginia and the Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys.
1. As an attorney in Virginia, Mr. Herring is obligated to follow the Constitution of Virginia and the Virginia Code of Professional Conduct in his service to his client, the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has betrayed those responsibilities by taking legal positions in court at variance with the authorized position of his client by his overt opposition to the 2006 voter approved Marriage Amendment, and by so doing he has intentionally engaged in conduct which is prejudicial and damaging to the legal position of the Commonwealth of Virginia in federal court. Further, he has declined to appoint counsel where he does not directly defend the laws or Constitution of Virginia as with the Marriage Amendment.
2. As Attorney General, Mr. Herring has no law making authority, and yet he has usurped legislative authority to confer tuition benefits upon classes of persons he favors without approval of the General Assembly, and further, he has erroneously directed the State Council of Higher Education to comply with his advice rather than the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
3. Mr. Herring has publicly announced that he is now using the Office of Attorney General in an effort to invalidate the tax laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia by allowing persons not authorized to file joint tax returns to file such returns, to the financial injury of the Commonwealth.
4. Mr. Herring has asked that all complaints filed against him with the Virginia State Bar be summarily dismissed.
IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: Mark Herring's actions constitute a radical structural alteration in our representative form of government, undertaken without the direct consent of the legislature or the people of Virginia. Alexander Hamilton wrote that, “the powers relating to impeachments are ... an essential check in the hands of that body [legislature-ed] upon the encroachments of the executive.” [Federalist No. 66]
Article IV, Section 17 of the Constitution of Virginia places the power to impeach and try for impeachment, executive or judicial officials with the General Assembly of Virginia. Those who are “offending against the Commonwealth by malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor may be impeached by the House of Delegates and prosecuted before the Senate, which shall have the sole power to try impeachments."
Grounds for impeachment include actions that do not constitute crimes. Acts of Parliament defined a class of impeachable offenses against orderly or good government such as neglect of duty that were distinct from statutory or common law criminal offenses. Precedents for impeachment in the House of Representatives have included non-indictable offenses.
I have concluded that Mr. Herring's actions constitute impeachable offenses, committed against the people of Virginia. After much reflection, I introduced two House Impeachment Inquiry Resolutions (House Resolutions 529 http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?142+sum+HR529, and 530 http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?142+sum+HR530) to obtain the judgment of the House of Delegates on whether Mr. Herring’s behavior on these serious matters reaches the level to warrant impeachment.
It is the responsibility of the House of Delegates to investigate this matter, and determine whether Mr. Herring meets the constitutional standard of "offending against the Commonwealth by malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor .... "
The Rules of the Special Session allow resolutions to be introduced “affecting the rules of procedure or schedule of business of the General Assembly or any of its committees."
REPUBLICAN NON-RESPONSE: Regrettably, the Republican Speaker of the House of Delegates, Bill Howell, announced within minutes of my introducing the measures, that he does not support the House of Delegates formally considering whether Mr. Herring’s now habitual power grabs merit any public deliberation about impeachment.
In late January 2014, when Attorney General Herring switched sides on the Marriage Amendment, I urged my Republican colleagues to directly confront Mr. Herring’s offense against his duty to defend the Constitution of Virginia. Failure to do so, I suggested, would whet his appetite for additional power grabs. Republican Speaker Bill Howell assured me, and perhaps others, that Herring would go no further. This prediction proved wrong.
Governor McAuliffe, seeing no legal challenge from Republicans of Herring’s playing fast and loose with Virginia’s Constitution, has decided he too can ignore the rule of law. He appointed new Board of Health members whom he has directed to “review” (i.e., abolish), the abortion clinic safety law and regulations. McAuliffe is trying to find a way to implement Medicaid expansion regardless of whether the Assembly approves it. And he is ready to spend our tax money even if there is no budget. Governor McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring are acting as if the General Assembly, the elected body which represents the people, is irrelevant and no longer part of Virginia’s government. This abuse of power will continue if House Republicans let Democrats have their way.
Republican office holders with few exceptions, claim they do not support so-called gay marriage. Most democrat legislators support it. What is the practical difference between Republicans who refuse to use their authority to defend real marriage, and democrats who support same sex legal unions? Some Republican elected officials have privately acknowledged to me that they believe Herring has done impeachable acts, but they fear proceeding because they think the state Senate will not vote the two-thirds necessary to remove Herring from office. This is not a good reason to roll over.
VIRGINIANS' SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Ted Olson, the media thrill seeker attorney who is challenging Virginia’s Marriage Amendment, is in a race to have the first same sex sodomy marriage challenge before the Supreme Court so Judges can confer on him the dubious prize of being the lawyer responsible for removing all standards against same sex or sodomy “marriage” in America, to the detriment of children and the well-being of society.
Virginia's Founding Fathers propounded that the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” must be the measure of the actions of individuals and government. We Virginians, and those elected representatives of the people who still accept the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” need to show the Supreme Court Justices what Virginians think of elected officials who seek to impose same sex, sodomy "marriage" with its vast and far reaching social and legal implications, by their "end run" around Virginia's General Assembly and 1.3 million Virginia voters who ratified the Marriage Amendment in 2006.
Impeaching or inquiring about impeaching Mark Herring will show Judges that we also have the will to impeach Justices who declare that the U.S. Constitution mandates legal recognition of the misnamed legal relationship called “same sex marriage.” Their reliance on the 14th Amendment's "equal protection" makes no sense because when the 14th Amendment was ratified, sodomy was a felony in nearly every state.
But why is it so important for Virginia to act now? In 1901, American writer Peter Findley Dunne (1867-1936), through his comic fictional character, Irishman "Mr. Dooley," said, these memorable words: "No matther whether th’ constitution follows h’ flag or not, th’ Supreme Coort follows th’ election returns.”
Victory will never come to those who refuse to fight. The 1.3 million Virginians who supported the Marriage Amendment in 2006 now see very few House of Delegates members with either the conviction or the courage to do their duty to secure orderly government against Mark Herring’s abuses of governmental power. It is my hope that Virginians will urge their representatives to secure a record vote on my impeachment resolutions so they will be well-informed when they vote in 2015 when the entire membership of the General Assembly is up for election. Republicans who prefer to duck their duties or who do not acknowledge the urgency of Democrat leaders ignoring the rule of law, the will of the people, or the legitimate powers of the General Assembly, will also have to answer to the voters.
General Assembly members should also reflect on the Oath they took to uphold the Virginia Constitution which includes impeaching officials who offend against orderly government.
In May, 1962 General Douglas MacArthur gave his famous speech at West Point in which he reminded the Corps of Cadets of the great moral code of the soldier, “Duty, Honor, Country,” three realities which emphasize others before self.
MacArthur did not rally for, “Victory, Applause, Party.” Of course, everyone likes to win! But Duty comes before Victory. Some Republican leaders seem to think that if Victory cannot be guaranteed, Duty should be ignored. But when Duty is properly understood, eventually a path to Victory can be found.
Little, if any, applause will be forthcoming from the newspaper and electronic media editorial boards if the House of Delegates proceeds with the impeachment of Mark Herring, primarily because they agree with Mark Herring’s policies. Nevertheless, the 1.3 million voters who ratified the Marriage Amendment in 2006 deserve to be defended by Republicans who should be fearless in doing their duty to prevent Mark Herring from exercising powers he does not have.
And as for the good of the Party, Virginia Republican leaders must refuse to be doormats for predatory Democrats! Remember, Victory does not come to those who refuse to fight!"