Virginia AG: General Assembly has authority to expel members of Capitol riot

Virginia’s top prosecutor released an advisory opinion that said the General Assembly has the power to discipline their own for playing a role or encouraging the Capitol insurrection.

“The Jan. 6 attack on our Capitol was an affront to our democracy and the very foundations of our country,” Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said. “The General Assembly has tools for holding its members to account if it determines that any legislator’s actions warrant discipline or expulsion.”

Herring cites Article IV, Section 7 of the Commonwealth’s constitution that lawmakers “may punish [its members] for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of its elected membership, may expel a member.”

Herring also said the law allows for legislators to define the parameters for punishments in this fashion.

He also concluded the terms outlined in Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment “and related historical precedent confirm that expulsion may be an appropriate sanction if a member ‘shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against’ the United States Constitution or has ‘given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.'”

Herring’s opinion was in response to questions his office received about the legal basis for such actions, after the Virginia Senate approved to moved forward a resolution to censure Republican Senator Amanda Chase for “fomenting insurrection against the United States.”

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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