Democrats' Legal Challenge to GOP Voting in State Senate Fails

A legal maneuver by Virginia Democrats to maintain voting parity in state senate was turned aside by a Richmond judge.

Sen. Donald McEachin, Caucus Chairman for Virginia Democrats, filed a suit to block Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling from voting as a tie-breaker in state senate.  After November's election, the chamber has 20 senators from each side of the aisle, but a vote by Bolling would give the Republicans a majority.

McEachin argued that a tie-breaking vote by Bolling would be an overreach of his powers as described in the state constitution.

But Judge Beverly Snukals said in court Friday morning that because Bolling had yet to actually cast a tie-breaking vote, a court ruling on the matter at this time would be speculative and premature.

From Virginia Lawyers Weekly:

The contested matter would have to get through committee, the Senate would have to vote, the vote would have to be a tie, the lieutenant governor would have to vote to break the tie, and the governor might ultimately have to approve the matter or sign the legislation. Court intervention at this early stage would amount to “an impermissible advisory opinion,” Snukals wrote in her opinion released this morning.

Virginia Republicans viewed the court ruling as a victory. 

Pat Mullins, chairman for the Republican Party of Virginia wrote, "Hopefully, Democrats will accept the judgment of Virginia's voters - and now the courts - with a measure of grace."

McEachin told the AP Democrats have yet to decide on a possible appeal.

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