Now, I don't know if Mike is an attorney. I don't even know if he plays one on TV. But if this is the quality of his legal analysis, he might want to consider a suit to get a refund of his law-school tuition. I'd recommend that he not represent himself.
Mike complains long and loud that:
Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell tried unsuccessfully to intervene in a private church property dispute on behalf of a conservative breakaway congregation involved in litigation over ownership of the historic Falls Church Episcopal.He also asserts that:
Attorney General McDonnell obliged by filing an extraordinary Motion to Intervene the Commonwealth of Virginia on behalf of the Falls Church CANA congregation. One of the issues disputed in the trial was the constitutionality of the so-called Virginia Division Statute (Virginia Code section 57-9).The Motion was vigorously opposed by the sin-endorsing Episcopalians.
But it's here that Mike starts to go a little ... well, wacky. His title claims that "AG McDonnell Used Office To Improperly Intervene In Falls Church Property Dispute" (emphasis added). He claims that:
The trial court did not ... allow McDonnell to intervene the Commonwealth on behalf of the conservative congregation. The court admonished McDonnell for his attempt to take sides with the conservative church congregation rather than to represent the interests of the people of Virginia, and issued an Order denying the McDonnell's Motion to Intervene....The problem? Well, aside from the fanciful notion that defending the majority of a congregation seeking to retain its property is not "represent[ing] the interests of the people of Virginia" against a self-describedly "Christian" church which endorses activities condemned by both Old and New Testaments (a matter of opinion), the claims are false in virtually all of its factual particulars.
The Fairfax County Circuit Court initially "DEFERRED" (original emphasis) ruling on the Motion to Intervene in the very order to which Mike links, which is dated 26 February 2008. Nowhere does it "admonish" McDonnell or his office.
Now, I have not followed this controversy closely. But when I pointed out to Mike that "there is certainly an argument to be made that the AG has standing to intervene in any action challenging a statute of the Commonwealth of Virginia," he responded with this peurile little response, lacking the courage actually to post it publicly in the thread accompanying his rant:
"I discern no admonition to the Attorney General"
What a precious little pastry arguement you make. I linked to the trial docs ... go do your homework. When you're done, come back, so I can start schooling you on legal procedure.
And in fact, the Court later granted Attorney General McDonnell's Motion to Intervene, noting in a letter opinion of 16 July 2008, that "The Attorney General of Virginia has a unique interest in defending the constitutionality of the statutes of the Commonwealth," and citing the fact that the situation was rather unusual, as challenges to the constitutionality of state statutes are usually considered in Federal courts, where "a state attorney general's specific interest in defending the constitutionality of state statutes is explicitly recognized both in 28 U.S.C. s2403(b) and in U.S. Sup. Ct. R. 24(4)(c)." A link to this document is provided by another commenter; Mike neglects to mention it at all, relying instead upon the arguments made by parties opposing the intervention.
In short, Mike attempts to argue that Attorney General McDonnell engaged in legal misconduct even though the court endorsed McDonnell's effort by granting it!
I don't often discuss legal arguments in this space. But when someone like Mike alleges misconduct, his fatuous and factually false assertions must be identified.
UPDATE: J.C. Wilmore ("The Richmonder") is attempt to raise the drumbeat here, and repeats many of the same misrepresentations as Mike.