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Former Gov. Baliles challenges Cuccinelli on college gay policies

Rosalind Helderman

Former Democratic Gov. Jerry Baliles has written a legal response to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's letter to colleges and universities on nondiscrimination policies, indicating he believes Cuccinelli erred in his legal interpretation of whether college Boards of Visitors have the power to adopt their own policies on gays without authority from the General Assembly.

In addition to being an interesting rebuke from a former governor, the letter is noteworthy because Cuccinelli and some of his supporters have suggested no one has contested his legal reasoning. But now Baliles (D) has done exactly that.

Baliles has a special perspective, because Cuccinelli cited a 1982 opinion from the then- attorney general Balilies in his own letter ("somewhat conveniently," Baliles writes) indicating that he wad advancing what has been the consistent position of the office for 28 years. Baliles said in 1982 that local governments could not extend legal protections in discrimination cases without General Assembly authority.

Baliles, who now serves as the executive director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, now argues that Cuccinelli inappropriately assigned the same powers to colleges as is afforded to local governments under Virginia's Dillon Rule, which says localties have no powers other than those given by the state legislature.

Colleges, on the other hand, operate under laws that allow their boards to adopt "all needful rules and regulations" for their operation, Baliles argues.

"Thus, unless the General Assembly affirmatively revokes such powers, Virginia's public colleges and universities may continue to engage in adopting rules and regulations necessary to their operations, including standards of conduct," Baliles writes.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 12, 2010; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Next: Cuccinelli stands by advice to colleges on gay policies


This problem started when Gov. McDonnell did not sign the Executive Order prohibiting discrimnation in employment of state employees on the basis of sex orientation. To total disregard a person civil rights should be cause for impeachment. Gov. McDonnell did say that he would provide safety for all citizens in Virginia except the gays. Refusing to sign the executive order against sex orientation gives a green light to the various agency heads that it is open season on gays.

Posted by: sun52shine | March 12, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I hope karma comes about to bite Cucchinelli in the butt. His dislike for gays & anyone unlike his small-minded self is so ridiculous. It would be great if his daughter brought home a black or Spanish or Muslim guy. Or is his son turned out to be gay - and I mean FLAGRANTLY gay - the almost girl sort. Or if his wife left him b/c she's really a lesbian. That would be hysterical!

Posted by: ms1234 | March 12, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

So in other words you libs are saying that we should have compassion and understanding for gays but not for Republicans. If his daughter brought home a spanish or muslim guy? Why are you prejudice against spaniards and muslims? You need help!

You think somone's wife leaving them is hysterical? You are truly a sick person.

You act like gays are now going to be beaten up and hunted down like dogs or something. Your alarmist assesments are ridiculous and your anger is misplaced.

Cuccinelli's assessment was spot on, only the General Assembly can determine employment classes. By your assessment they also hate brown haired people because there is nothing in McDonnell's executive order that says you can't discriminate against brown haired people. Last time I checked they were a bigger employment class than gays

Posted by: alan8228 | March 12, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

So what? I doubt anybody really cares about Gerald Baliles' opinion, other than a few activists and the liberal Washington Post reporter whose political agenda is on display here as much as it was in the story she co-authored earlier this week regarding the state budget.

Posted by: austinrl | March 12, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

ms1234, your comments are typical of the gross intolerance and prejudice of liberals. Listen to should be ashamed. Read the Constitution and perhaps study what the General Assembly says on this subject. Cuccinelli is following the rule of law, not creating it.

Posted by: trojanwife | March 16, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

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