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McDonnell: Decision on military funeral case is Cuccinelli's

Rosalind Helderman

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) disagrees with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's decision not to file an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case in which the familiy of a fallen marine has sued the Kansas church that protests at military funerals.

Or maybe he agrees.

It's a little hard to tell from the statement we've received from his office on the topic.

The statement basically says that McDonnell opposes Phelps' actions but that the decision on whether to file briefs with the Supreme Court belongs to the attorney general.

Virginia and Maine are the only two states in the country not to back the marine's family. Cuccinelli (R) says he's concerned about the first amendment ramifications of a legal judgement in favor of the family, who argues the church invaded their privacy and caused them emotional distress by protesting at their son's funeral.

"The decision to join an amicus brief is made by the Office of the Attorney General," said McDonnell spokeswoman Stacey Johnson in a statement. "The Governor finds both Fred Phelps and his organization abhorrent. As Attorney General he supported successful legislation making it illegal to disrupt funerals or memorial services, and he threatened the group with arrest and prosecution if they violated that statute. As a veteran, and the father and son of veterans, the Governor will not tolerate any disruption of military funerals."

McDonnell did support the 2006 law, as did Cuccinelli, who has said he believes the statute strikes the right balance between first amendment rights and the rights of those holding funerals. The law made it a misdeamenor to "willfully disrupt" a funeral.

McDonnell threatened to arrest Phelps' followers if they protested after the shootings at Virginia Tech but protests didn't materialize and there were no arrests.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  June 2, 2010; 4:51 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli , Robert F. McDonnell , Rosalind Helderman  
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Governor, you are in charge. Your AG has become a hate filled bigot pursuing a narrow and extreme agenda to an ignorant few. You are not about jobs or the economy nor about Virginia. You are about running for Senator. You lied upon entering office and have spent your time pushing Virginia back to the 1800s. You should be ashamed of yourself. Instruct your AG to do his job as opposed to running to be the next Governor.

Posted by: mjcc1987 | June 2, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Bobby McDumbell is a gutless coward, afraid to stand up to the rabid wingnut Ken Kookynutty.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | June 3, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

mjcc1987: Most state attorney generals, including those in Virginia, are elected separately and not accountable to the governor. Heck, McDonnell himself was AG in a Democratic administration. So there's really nothing he can do to reign in Cuccinelli, who only has the voters to answer to.

Posted by: Simon23p | June 3, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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