Commentary: A Step Backwards for Virginia

Commentary: A Step Backwards for Virginia

Virginia New American leaders respond to the nomination of Ken Cuccinelli for the State Supreme Court.

Today (March 8), the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus nominated former attorney general and 2013 gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli for the Virginia Supreme Court.

After the Senate failed to secure the votes necessary to put Appeals Court Judge Rossie D. Alston Jr. onto the State Supreme Court, the Senate Courts of Justice Committee promptly certified Cuccinelli by a party line vote for the position. He will be voted on by the full Senate tomorrow and it appears that the Republicans have the votes to secure his placement on the Court.

Despite the fact that Governor McAuliffe’s pick, Justice Jane Marum Roush, is an eminently qualified and highly regarded jurist who has presided over many high-profile cases, including the trial of D.C.-area sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, Republicans have refused to give her a full 12-year appointment.

From immigration to contraception to climate change denial to LGBT rights, Ken Cuccinelli has built a career on extreme conservative positions that are out of step with Virginia today. He also has a long and sordid history of antipathy towards New Americans, immigrants, and Latinos in particular:

  • In 2013, gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli went so far as to compare immigration to pest control and immigrants to RATS.

  • He drafted a bill that would deny unemployment benefits to employees who do not speak English.

  • He derided the 2013 Congressional Immigration Reform Plan as legalization and “amnesty.”

  • He threw his full support behind Arizona’s anti-immigration SB1070 law.

  • As a state senator, he sponsored legislation aimed at stripping U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants of their right to citizenship.

  • As attorney general he embraced policies that would authorize police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest.

  • He has been a strong opponent of in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants brought to the country at no fault of their own and at a young age by their parents.

J. Walter Tejada, Community Leader and former Elected Official, stated, “From Donald Trump inciting his supporters by calling Latino immigrants ‘thieves’ and ‘rapists’ or candidates calling for a divisive southern wall or hateful rhetoric being used against New Americans, it seems all we’ve heard is anti-immigrant nonsense spewing from Republican politicians. The proposed placement of Ken Cuccinelli on the Virginia State Supreme Court would represent a very significant step backwards for Virginia.”

Alfonso Lopez, Democratic Member of the Virginia House of Delegates, stated, “As the son of a Latin American immigrant and the first Latino Democrat elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, it’s incredibly difficult to hear the vitriol that Republicans use against immigrants day in and day out. Today, by proposing Cuccinelli for the State Supreme Court, Republicans are endorsing a person with a long history of doctrinaire, ‘Trump-esque’ positions that are out of step with a modern Virginia.”

Tram Nguyen, Executive Director of New Virginia Majority, stated, "On International Women's Day, the Republican Party could not have nominated a more divisive anti-immigrant, anti-choice individual to serve on Virginia's highest court. Cuccinelli's extreme views have no place on the Supreme Court. Virginia's judicial system should not be the victim of political maneuvers."

Marvin Figueroa, President of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia, stated, ”I am extremely disappointed that Republicans in the General Assembly would nominate an individual to Virginia's Supreme Court with such an extensive track record of radical opposition to immigrants and New Americans. Someone who has so ardently campaigned to amend the U.S. Constitution to end birthright citizenship should not be allowed to serve on our Supreme Court and trusted with defending Virginia's Constitution."

The Honorable J. Walter Tejada, former Member of the Arlington County Board

The Honorable Alfonso Lopez, Virginia State Delegate, 49th District

Leni Gonzalez, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)

Marvin Figueroa, President of the Democratic Latino Organization of Virginia

Tram Nguyen, Executive Director of New Virginia Majority

Edgar Aranda-Yanoc, Chair of the Virginia Coalition of Latino Organizations