Former Gov. Baliles challenges Cuccinelli on college gay policies
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.
March 12, 2010; 11:24 AM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman
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