Lawyers from five of Richmond’s largest firms are rallying behind the judicial appointment of openly gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, writing a letter to the presiding judge of the Richmond Circuit Court saying he would be an “outstanding jurist.”
Thorne-Begland did not get enough votes in the House of Delegates in May to get the post after Delegate Bob Marshall (R) led an opposition movement against Thorne-Begland’s appointment because he was an outspoken advocate of gay rights.
Now, the Circuit Court has the authority to fill the vacancy in the Richmond General District Court bench on an interim basis until the General Assembly convenes next session, according to The RTD. Thorne-Begland and a handful of other lawyers are being considered.
Former Attorney General Richard Cullen and former President of the Virginia Bar Association James V. Meath are among those that signed the letter.
But The Washington Post reports that even if Thorne-Begland wins the appointment, it’s not clear that he could convince the General Assembly to keep him in the post.
“This is the Republican establishment that can’t take a message,” said Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), who led opposition to Thorne-Begland in the House and was running in Tuesday’s primary for U.S. Senate. “This is unbelievable arrogance. We went through this process, the House of Delegates said ‘no,’ we have the authority to do that, we found him wanting in judicial temperament. If they don’t like the outcome, they should run for delegate.”
* The Virginia primary is today. Polls close at 7 p.m. Check here to find your polling location.
* President Barack Obama attended fundraising events Tuesday in the Baltimore-area.
He was expected to be in Maryland less than five hours and bring in more than $1 million, according to The Sun.
Gov. Martin O’Malley attended the fundraising event at the home of Owings Mills developer and big-time Democratic donor Josh Fidler.
Obama said at the event, via The Sun:
"We've been able to right the ship a little bit. We're moving in the right direction, but this election, in many ways, is going to be more consequential than 2008," Obama said.
"The good news is, the American people generally agree with our vision. ... The challenge is because folks are still hurting right now, the other side feels that it's enough for them to just sit back and say, 'Things aren't as good as they should be, and it's Obama's fault.'
"And, you can pretty much put their campaign on a tweet and have some characters to spare."
The president later attended a larger fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in the Inner Harbor.
* Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed off on the state’s two-year, $85 billion budget, vetoing one amendment and declaring another unconstitutional, according to The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
His signature puts a final end to drawn out budget disputes that were resolved in a special session.
The amendment he rejected would have blocked certain surplus revenue funds from being spent on transportation. The RTD reports that McDonnell said that the budget action was “directly at odds with legislation passed during the regular session.”
He also said a provision relating to the Federal Action Contingency Trust fund violated the division of powers between the legislative and executive branch and “unconstitutionally conditions” the governor’s power to allocate money from a fund designed to cushion the state from federal budget cuts, the RTD reports.
* D.C. liquor storeowners expressed skepticism at a D.C. council hearing today over the profits they would see from a proposal to allow liquor stores to open on Sundays.
City officials say the proposal could generate up to $710,000 in tax revenue annually, but, according to DCist, Rick Genderson, owner of Schneider's of Capitol Hill, said that any revenue he’d potentially see from Sunday sales would be negligible and would likely cut into the sales of small beer and wine stores.
DCist reports that some owners said they would feel compelled to keep their doors open on Sunday, while others said overhauling the Sunday restrictions would allow big retailers to apply for liquor licenses and hurt the smaller shops.
Read more here.
* Here’s Obama’s latest ad airing in Virginia: