The General Assembly will convene in Richmond today for a special session to comply with a court order to redraw the racially gerrymandered 3rd Congressional District. The timing of this special session is problematic for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who tried to sneak in a State Supreme Court Justice during the recess without consulting the legislature. This brazen move of political gamesmanship will not work because under Virginia law, the General Assembly can take up other matters of business during the special session. So today, the General Assembly will correct McAuliffe’s power play.
What our carpet-bagging, professional fundraiser for a governor has forgotten is what is known in the Old Dominion as The Virginia Way. This is, and has been, a more cordial way to govern.
The Democrats are crying that removing McAuliffe’s pick would be unprecedented in modern Virginia history, which is nearly accurate but deliberately misleading. What really happened is McAuliffe pulled a fast one during a recess to avoid the legislature from weighing in on who the next member of Virginia’s Supreme Court should be. So it is McAuliffe who is breaking precedent, not the legislature. The disingenuous response from McAuliffe’s team is to just hit the usual talking points on partisanship which obviously do not touch on why McAuliffe chose to do what he did. Even Gov. Douglas Wilder called out McAuliffe for failing to handle this the right way.
Virginia’s General Assembly is the longest serving legislature, steep in tradition. It is the job of the legislature to approve the Governor’s nominee to the bench. When a governor ignores either the law or just protocol, then the legislative branch needs to step up and defend The Virginia Way. And fortunately for all of us, Gov. McAuliffe will see The Virginia way in action. Below is a foretelling post from State Senator Steve Martin’s Facebook page on what we can expect today.