Virginia State Senator Amanda Chase’s lawsuit against the Republican Party of Virginia regarding its nomination process has been dismissed. Senator Chase had noted that an RPV proposed in-person convention would run afoul of Governor Northam’s Second Amended Order No. 72 which prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people the violation of which would subject any organizers or attendees of such a convention to a Class 1 Misdemeanor. See pages 12 and 14. EO-72-SECOND-AMENDED-and-Order-of-Public-Health-Emergency-Nine-Commonsense-Surge-Restrictions-Due-to-Novel-Coronavirus-(COVID-19).pdf (virginia.gov)
On Friday, February 19, 2021, Richmond Circuit Court Judge Margaret Spencer rejected Chase’s request for an injunction barring the RPV from holding an in-person convention, not because doing so would be unsafe, but because Judge Spencer ruled Senator Chase lacked standing to enforce Governor Northam’s latest regal pronouncement dated February 17, 2021.
I was not surprised by this ruling. However, I am convinced that Virginia Code § 44-146.17 concerning the emergency powers granted to the Governor is an unconstitutional delegation of legislative powers to the Executive in violation of the Virginia Constitution in particular and the principle of the separation of powers in general. Governor Northam has seized upon this law to declare that Virginia is in a perpetual state of emergency entitling him to issue Executive Order after Executive Order without end.
Thus far the courts have not been inclined to restrain the Governor’s improvident use of these powers.
According to Senator Chase’s attorney Tim Anderson of Virginia Beach the dismissal means that there can be no primary and Governor Northam now possesses the power to shut down any plans for an in-person convention unless attendees want to be charged with a Misdemeanor violation.
It looks like the choice for nomination for Governor will now be decided by the 72 members of the State Central Committee. Attorney Anderson also stated that if a majority of the State Central Committee can’t agree upon a nominee then there will be no Republican nominee for Governor.