Republicans to file suit against McAuliffe’s ‘unconstitutional’ executive order

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorneys for General Assembly Republicans are filing a lawsuit against Governor Terry McAuliffe’s order to restore the political rights of more than 206,000 convicted felons.

The six Virginia voters including Williams J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate majority leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), who filed the lawsuit, are asking the Virginia Supreme Court to issue a writ of mandamus against the Governor, the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Board of Elections and the Department of Election commanding the Commonwealth’s registrar not to register the felons due to the order and to cancel all invalid registrations.

Governor McAuliffe restored the rights of all Virginians with a prior felony conviction who completed their terms of incarcerations and have been released from their parole in April 2016.

The rights being restored include the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office and become a notary public.

The order does not create automatic rights restoration but rather rights will be restored on an ongoing basis.

The filing states that Governor McAuliffe used “unprecedented assertion of executive authority” and that the order “defies the plain text of the Constitution.”

“The Governor has willfully ignored constitutional limitations on his power, demonstrating his complete and total disregard for the Commonwealth, the people of Virginia, and the principles of representative government,” Majority Leader Norment said.

The list of petitioners are House Speaker William J. Howell; Fredericksburg, VA, Senate majority leader Thomas K. Norment; Williamsburg, VA, Bill C. Cleveland; Alexandria, VA; Former Vice-Mayor, Marianne Gearhart; Fairfax Station, VA, M. Brett Hall; Coeburn, VA and W. Hunter Slemp; Dryden, VA.

The petition will be filed with Court later today.

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