While litigation concerning Star Scientific, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s sole stock investment, continues to languish, the Attorney General’s office has moved swiftly to challenge a recent court ruling striking down Virginia’s anti-sodomy law. The Washington Blade reports Cuccinelli filed a petition with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for the full 15-judge panel to reconsider the ruling that Virginia’s legislation is unconstitutional under Lawrence v Texas. Citizens and taxpayers would be right to wonder why Cuccinelli insists on wasting public dollars fighting to keep government in the bedroom while it sits on its hands in a case where he has financial conflicts.
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli has filed a petition with the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond asking the full 15-judge court to reconsider a decision by a three-judge panel last month that overturned the state’s sodomy law.
The three-judge panel ruled 2-1 on March 12 that a section of Virginia’s “Crimes Against Nature” statute that outlaws sodomy between consenting adults, gay or straight, is unconstitutional based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2003 known as Lawrence v. Texas.
A clerk with the 4th Circuit appeals court said a representative of the Virginia Attorney General’s office filed the petition on Cuccinelli’s behalf on March 26. The petition requests what is known as an en banc hearing before the full 15 judges to reconsider the earlier ruling by the three-judge panel.
“We certainly hope they won’t,” said Claire Gastanaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, which filed a friend of the court brief urging the three-judge panel to overturn the state sodomy law.
“We think it’s a situation in which everybody agrees that the statute is unconstitutional,” Gastanaga told the Blade.
Greg Nevins, an attorney with the LGBT litigation group Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, which joined the ACLU in filing the friend of the court brief calling for overturning the Virginia sodomy law, said requests for en banc hearings are turned down most of the time.
He quoted a federal appeals court rule as stating, “Although petitions for rehearing are filed in a great many cases, few are granted.”