As we wrote last week (“The Governor Checks, the General Assembly Balances“), Governor McAuliffe arrogantly thought he could bypass consultations with GOP lawmakers when he selected Jane Roush as the next member of the Virginia Supreme Court.
Roush was a judge on the Fairfax Circuit Court until the recess appointment to the state’s highest court. But because a recess appointment expires 30 days after commencement of the next General Assembly session, the General Assembly must elect that person (or another person) in order to fill the full term.
Customarily, the General Assembly goes along with the Governor’s recess appointments and elects his choice to that full term. Customarily, though, the Governor also consults with the General Assembly to ensure the choice reflects a consensus. That didn’t happen this time, and so custom is out the window and the General Assembly plans to elect their more conservative choice, Judge Rossie Alston.
As we wrote when we first reported on this story, the Democrats predictably and laughably argued that the Republicans’ refusal to bend to the Governor’s arrogance was because Judge Roush was a woman.
We thought that was the last of this patently ridiculous argument, but we were wrong. Jenna Portnoy’s story in the WaPo reveals the real motivation:
Democrats seized on what McAuliffe has called a “political temper tantrum,” accusing Republicans of being anti-woman — a charge they are likely to repeat as 2016 approaches, when Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to compete in swing-state Virginia.
The Governor and top Democratic lawmakers are now calling for public hearings so they can do their utmost to underscore Roush’s qualifications and buttress their argument that Republicans hate women.
As a bonus, Democrats are bemoaning that this super-qualified woman judge would be jobless through no fault of her own. However, according to a top General Assembly source, Roush declined an offer to discuss appointment to the Court of Appeals, and has received assurances from numerous legislators that they would happily put her back in her old seat in Fairfax. Yet, Roush has not disabused the press or the public of the politically motivated charge that General Assembly Republicans are stripping her of her livelihood.
In other words, she’s playing along with the Democrats’ political game, providing confirmation to the GOP that McAuliffe didn’t pick her for just her judicial experience, but also for her politics. (Let’s not pretend McAuliffe didn’t ask her a series of questions on hot-button issues to determine how liberal a judge she would be…this isn’t a random appointment).
Which is all to the good because, as the Democrat noise machine so helpfully points out, the alternative actually appears likely to be a conservative. Rossie Alston, the Republicans’ preferred candidate to assume the Supreme Court seat when Roush’s temporary term expires, used to work for the National Right to Work Committee and was once recommended for appointment to the National Labor Relations board by Sen. Jesse Helms.
Huh? Whooda thunk that a Republican majority would use their Constitutional authority to appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court? Really shocking, I know. (Kudos, BTW, to those who advanced this idea in the General Assembly).
Less surprising is that even though Alston’s appointment would give Virginia the most African-Americans on its Supreme Court of any state in the union, and even though Alston comes with the highest recommendation of the predominantly black Old Dominion Bar Association, because Democrats suspect he’s a conservative, Democrats feel relieved of their duty to make the customary vicious identity-politics attacks on those opposing him.
I guess when the choice is between blacks and women, the “War on Women” thing matters more for electoral success, and carrying the Democrat presidential nominee across the finish line. Sorry, African-Americans…she knows you’re going to vote for her anyway, so you’re just not as important to Hillary as white women in Fairfax.