- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 20, 2012

Virginia state Delegate Robert G. Marshall surely knew he wouldn’t exactly get a friendly reception when he appeared on CNN on Thursday in the wake of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Tuesday vote against the nomination of Richmond’s chief deputy prosecutor Tracy-Thorne Begland, who is gay, for a judgeship in the city.

But it’s unlikely the Prince William Republican could have foreseen the interview that took place, either.

“Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks never took an oath of office that they broke,” he said in response to a query about the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements. “Sodomy’s not a civil right. It’s not the same as the civil rights movement.”

A statement like that is sure to go viral instantly - and it did. But Mr. Marshall continued. Would Mr. Thorne-Begland’s views really come into play at the general district court level?

“He could preside as a district judge for a marriage of two guys if he wanted to, in violation of the law,” Mr. Marshall said. “Moreover, if you have a barroom fight between a homosexual and a heterosexual, I’m concerned about possible bias.”

What about recusing oneself from a case, as Mr. Thorne-Begland indicated he would do if a potential conflict arose?

“Yeah, [Supreme Court Justice] Elena Kagan said she would recuse herself, and she was the solicitor general and did not recuse herself in this Obamacare case,” Mr. Marshall retorted. “The public has to be assured before they step into that courtroom that they’re going to receive impartial justice, and under these circumstances, I don’t think it was the case. It’s just my own view.”

Mr. Marshall later cited the Lord’s Prayer (“lead us not into temptation”) as another reason.

“Nobody - nobody - should go where they’ll be tempted,” he said. “That includes me, that includes you, that includes a prospective judge.”

A short time later, the host closed with the standard “Gotta leave it there.” But somehow that seems unlikely.

Political theater

The Maryland Republican Party may control barely one-quarter of the General Assembly, but it has seized a clear majority of the state’s wacky political stunts.

In recent weeks, the state’s minority party has grown increasingly animated in its objections to the policies of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who chose to reconvene the General Assembly last week for a special session where lawmakers passed more than $260 million in tax increases.

Days before the special session, the state GOP spread word that an “eviction notice” had been posted on the gate outside Government House - the Annapolis mansion where Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, and preceding governors have resided.

As told in a GOP news release, disgruntled taxpayers - functioning as landlords of the state-owned property - were ready to send the governor packing more than 2 1/2 years before term limits will require him to leave office.

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