It was a bold move by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) Thursday, filing two resolutions to start an impeachment inquiry against Attorney General Mark Herring.
Del. Marshall told NBC12 before our 5:30 broadcast we could “christen and baptize the news” of his impeachment inquiry. Marshall said he took the step reluctantly, two days after Herring argued against the Commonwealth’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage.
But 25 minutes after we confirmed the developments, a spokesperson for Speaker Bill Howell (R-Stafford) indicated the impeachment effort is going nowhere fast.
"The Speaker has expressed his concerns regarding the Attorney General's actions, but does not believe impeachment is an appropriate or practical recourse at the moment,” wrote Spokesperson Matt Moran Thursday.
Reaction from the AG’s Office was also swift, with Director of Communications Michael Kelly saying three constitutional scholars have supported Herring’s refusal to defend the same-sex marriage ban.
"A small handful of legislators seem to remain oblivious as to how the law works, the role of the Attorney General, and the publicly stated opinion of top legal scholars, including the author of Virginia's modern Constitution," said Kelly.
"It's our hope that this political gambit doesn't distract or take away momentum from reaching agreement on a state budget as soon as possible."
As Ryan Nobles pointed out earlier this week, the criticism from conservative adversaries seems to embolden Herring in his fight against the constitutional ban.
"Having the right to fight for the rights of all Virginians is an awesome responsibility that I am honored to have," said Herring. "It makes all the politically motivated criticisms, and the misrepresentation of my actions and the role of the Attorney General, pale in comparison."
Marshall’s fight also stems from Herring’s position that children of illegal immigrants should be eligible for in-state tuition. The Delegate also noted Herring’s viewpoint that same-sex couples should be alowed to file joint tax returns.
“I have filed these resolutions to obtain the judgment of the House of Delegates on whether Mr. Herring’s behavior on these serious matters reaches the level to warrant impeachment,” said Marshall in a statement Thursday.
“It is the responsibility of the House of Delegates to investigate this matter, and determine whether, in the opinion of that body, Mr. Herring meets the constitutional standard of 'offending against the Commonwealth by malfeasance in office, corruption, neglect of duty, or other high crime or misdemeanor.'"