Bench Memos

Re: Inane WaPo Defense of Virginia AG Herring

Two weeks ago, the Washington Post editorial board wrongly applauded Virginia attorney general Mark Herring for violating his duty to defend his state’s marriage laws. Yet today it somehow sees fit to criticize him for “rank partisanship” in sending an “e-mail blast” that defends his decision and attacks opponents. According to the Post, Herring “seamlessly blends the role of political opportunist, building his mailing and fundraising lists for a future electoral campaign, with his role of chief counsel for the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

But what is also “seamless” is the connection between Herring’s larger dereliction of duty and his e-mail. As I explain in my Weekly Standard essay on the topic, “The very concept of the rule of law—of a realm of impartial decision-making according to neutral principles set forth in advance—depends on maintaining as distinct a line as possible between law and politics.” Having celebrated Herring’s trampling of that line, the Post can hardly be taken seriously in objecting to his e-mail.

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