The Attorney General’s Duty

The Tidewater Libertarian Party has released the following Statement on Attorney General Mark Herring’s decision to oppose, in Federal Court, the State’s Amendment refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.
The Tidewater Libertarian Party strongly opposed Virginia’s Amendment refusing to recognize same-sex marriage before it was ratified, and continues to advocate its repeal. Until that happens, it is the law in Virginia and an expression of the will of the people of the Commonwealth. If the Amendment were to be struck down as in conflict with the US Constitution, we would celebrate its fall. But until that happens, it remains Virginia’s law.

Mark Herring ran for and narrowly won the office of Attorney General, effectively, Virginia’s lawyer.  It is his duty to represent the will of the people of Virginia, even if he disagrees with their choice.

It is not the duty of a lawyer to judge his client. Having accepted, and in this case, fought for the privilege of being Virginia’s lawyer, he has an obligation to place his client’s interest ahead of his own opinion, just as the lawyer of a guilty criminal defendant has an obligation to defend his client vigorously even if he is revolted by his acts.

A lawyer cannot refuse to defend his client unless there is no honest defense available and in no case can he act in conflict with his client’s interests while remaining in his employ.

Mark Herring has chosen not only to refuse to defend his client; he has taken the added step of joining the plaintiff’s side in opposition to his client.

To do so is a not only a failure in his duty to the Commonwealth, it is a knowing and deliberate conflict of interest.  Before actively opposing the legislated will of the people of Virginia, he should resign as Virginia’s lawyer and provide for a transition to other representation.

If he fails to do so, he has failed in his duty as Attorney General and violated the canons of his profession. Should he continue his opposition to his client’s interests, he should be impeached and disbarred.


This was a controversial vote within the TLP. We strongly oppose the Defense of Marriage Amendment and we are sympathetic to Herring’s goal of ending it. But the Rule of Law requires that the Executive Branch submit to the legislature and to the people.

We urge the people of Virginia to demand their legislators begin the process of repeal of this vile amendment, but that it be done as an expression of the maturing values of the People of Virginia and not by the will of the elite through executive action.

One Response to The Attorney General’s Duty

  1. Warren E. Boisselle says:

    Religion aside, all laws should have the long term best interest of society and the country as their basis. Virginia’s current marriage laws have such a basis. The attorney should be catering to this goal and not the party or the mob.

    As mentioned in today’s Editorial pages, by the Catholic bishops, “…Most fundamentally, what is at stake is the preservation of the family, the fundamental and foundational unit of society.”

    Virginia’s marriage law is conducive to a healthy society. It is what elevated America super power status now on the wane.

    There is no evidence that America’s new direction into liberalism and socialism and is advancing our prosperity and prestige in the world. All evidence points to the contrary.


    Warren E. Boisselle, 734 Sir Walter Circle, VA Beach, VA 23452, tel: 757-340-5874, E-mail:

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