Virginia Republican leaders have hired a prominent conservative lawyer to lead an expected court challenge to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s recent order restoring voting rights for 206,000 felons.
General Assembly Republicans announced Monday that they have retained Charles J. Cooper, a former assistant attorney general under President Ronald Reagan who was once named “Republican lawyer of the year.” A founding member and chairman of Cooper & Kirk PLLC in Washington, Cooper defended California’s ban on same-sex marriage before the United States Supreme Court in 2013.
“It is the obligation of the legislative and judicial branches to serve as a check on overreaches of executive power,” House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said in a prepared statement. “To that end, we are prepared to uphold the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law by challenging Governor McAuliffe’s order in court.”
“We have retained Mr. Cooper to examine the legal options to remedy this Washington-style overreach by the executive branch,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City. “Mr. Cooper is an extremely qualified attorney and we have every confidence he will proceed prudently, judiciously, and expeditiously.”
Taxpayer funds will not be used to fund a lawsuit, Republicans said.
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