Tough break, McAwful.
Back in April, Clinton pal and Virginia’s Democrat Governor Terry McAuliffe rushed to create an entirely new voting bloc for Democrats in the state, but as the Washington Post is reporting, it’s not happening.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled against Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 felons who completed their sentences, a decision that dealt a major blow to the Democratic governor and has implications for the November presidential race in the crucial swing state.
In a 4-3 ruling issued Friday, the court ruled that McAuliffe overstepped his clemency powers under the state constitution by issuing a sweeping order in April restoring rights to all ex-offenders who are no longer incarcerated or on probation or parole.
It was state Republicans who argued for restoration of voting rights on case-by-case basis, rather than the broad sweep McAuliffe and his Democrat colleagues were seeking.
“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 for the majority. “To be sure, no Governor of this Commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists.”
Lemons noted in his opinion that Virginia’s last Democratic governor, Timothy M. Kaine, declined in 2010 to issue a blanket voting rights restoration order on advice from a senior advisor who said such a move would be a “rewrite” of the law and constitution. A spokeswoman for Kaine, now a senator and leading contender to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, did not return a request for comment.
The ruling invalidates the voting privileges of approximately 11,000 felons who had taken advantage of McAuliffe’s unlawful order.
McAuliffe fell back on a familiar Democrat canard – tried to frame the order as a “civil rights” issue, due to a quarter of the state’s black population having convictions on their record that would keep them from voting.
State Republicans accused him of attempting to pad the voter rolls in favor of Hillary Clinton, ahead of the November election.
McAuliffe was apparently keeping a secret list of felons who would be eligible to have their voting rights restored. That got him on the wrong side of both Republicans and Democrats. As it turns out, the list included several felons still incarcerated for violent crimes and around 132 sex offenders under supervision.
The governor did not consult with anyone about the list, but later, Democrat and Republican lawmakers had the duty to look over and clean up the list.