- 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.”

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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.

“Marylanders are taking their state back, and it’s time for you and your Democrat pals to leave Annapolis,” read the notice, printed on a red sheet of paper. “We’ve had enough of your tax-and-spend policies, and we’re tired of you driving our jobs away.”

State Republicans upped the ante last week when they distributed a computer-manipulated photo of the governor, which depicted him as “Captain Jack O’Malley” - an eye-patch-adorned, bandana-wearing “political pirate” who sports long black hair and enjoys nothing more than to steal gold and jewels from poor taxpayers.

We like to imagine that he spends his spare time playing in a pirate rock band.

“Martin O’Malley,” the poster read, with a skull and crossbones standing in for the “O” in the governor’s name. “Pillaging and plundering your paycheck since 2007.”

Friendly rivalries

The Washington Nationals took on the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend for some Beltway-baseball between two teams that got off to surprisingly hot starts.

It’s hard to say which team was the first to notice that winning is a lot more fun than finishing under .500 every year, but Mayor Vincent C. Gray says the District is leading the way in one facet.

The mayor said the District’s “sister city” in Maryland plans to introduce a workforce-development program that is similar to his One City, One Hire program, which asks firms to hire D.C. residents in exchange for financial incentives. So far, Mr. Gray has attributed more than 3,000 hires to the program.

“I assume they’ll call it something other than One City, One Hire,” Mr. Gray said of Baltimore. “How ‘bout the ‘We’ll Emulate the District of Columbia Program?’ “

Then again, the District based its program on one out of Atlanta, and that city’s Braves are in the Nats’ division. Nuts!

• David Sherfinski, David Hill and Tom Howell Jr. contributed to this report

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