September 25, 2012
Bring on the Cuccinelli PrincipleBy Mark J. Fitzgibbons
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has made enemies by fighting big, lawbreaking government. His critics often unwittingly help his run for Virginia governor in 2013 because they stand in stark contrast to his view of government bound by the rule of law.
Unlike many other state attorneys general who sometimes swarm like wolf packs against only the private sector, Cuccinelli takes a more even-handed approach to tackling lawbreaking in both the private sector and government.
He was the first to file a lawsuit against ObamaCare, and he's taken the Environmental Protection Agency to court for its job-killing regulations, which Cuccinelli believed exceeded the EPA's legal authority.
Cuccinelli's biggest problem in enforcing the law on government is a legal system that has come to be flawed and even corrupt in how it too often protects government lawbreaking.
Statewide, Cuccinelli recently announced his support for an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that would return the power of eminent domain to its original and limited scope under the 5th Amendment to the Constitution.
In what many consider to be not just judicial activism, but a violation of the 5th Amendment, which is the law limiting government's power on property takings, the United States Supreme Court expanded government's authority in the controversial and dreaded Kelo decision. That ruling allowed government to take private property for the benefit of political cronies.
Cuccinelli's explanation of support for the eminent domain amendment shows why he's in the top tier among America's constitutional conservatives to hold public office: "Government is often a bully, and bullies don't often go after people their own size. They go after little people that they can push around."
It is that type of candid talk about how government abuses its authority, combined with his actual efforts to protect individual liberty and private property rights, that has made Cuccinelli an early and strong favorite in the 2013 race for Virginia's next governor.
Cuccinelli is also setting the pace for conservatives nationally. He does not back down from supporting American values, yet he maintains a very limited approach to his enforcement authority. Among politicians, he may be unmatched in insight and courage articulating the constitutional principles of limited government that are the basis for freedom, prosperity, and American exceptionalism.
Statists, on the other hand, believe that law exists solely to control the people. To them, the notion of government's following the rule of law is contradictory or even objectionable.
When Virginia passed legislation requiring abortion clinics to meet standards applicable to hospitals, some members of the state's Board of Health refused to enforce the law on existing facilities in contravention of the law.
Cuccinelli responded that as the attorney for the Commonwealth of Virginia, he would not defend members of the board if they were sued for being in violation of the law.
That notion was too much to bear for The Washington Post, which tries to ensure that conservatives do not succeed in Virginia politics:
Applying this "Cuccinelli Principle" more broadly, however, would not make it difficult to fill government vacancies except by those who wish to use their power unlawfully. Cuccinelli has demonstrated amply that he defends government when it follows the law despite the hysteria extrapolated falsely by The Washington Post.
It is when government officials don't follow the law that this Cuccinelli Principle seems to be quite appealing, perhaps even a model for other state attorneys general.
When government officials violate the law, citizens seeking to enforce their rights bear their own legal expenses, yet we taxpayers foot the bill for lawbreaking government officials. Lawbreaking bureaucrats should have skin in the game. That might actually cut down on government officials' violating the law.
The Washington Post also misreported Cuccinelli's attempt to investigate a suspected fraud against the taxpayers by Climategate figure Michael Mann while Mann was employed at a state university. Their approach: nothing to see there -- or anywhere -- when expansion of government power may be questioned.
Cuccinelli gets it. What makes America exceptional and prosperous is that government is subject to a supreme law promulgated by the people. More than ever in our lifetimes people understand the need for government controlled by the rule of law. His critics expose their flawed progressive, statist ideology that has brought American exceptionalism to the verge of demise.
As a result of the EPA's recent bullying tactics, this past week 1,200 Virginians working in the coal industry lost their jobs. Cuccinelli spoke out, and his big-government critics did not.
The real bullies, it seem, are far less interested in protecting innocent citizens than they are in the jobs of lawbreaking bureaucrats.
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