Andrew Cohen for the Marshall Project:
Those who object to the restoration of these voting rights, Howard told us, are conflating Gov. McAuliffe’s duty to individually communicate his reasons for a pardon with his more expansive authority to restore voting rights to those already pardoned. From Howard:
Whatever limit, if any, Article V, Section 12, might be thought to place on the Governor’s actions as to remissions, grants, and commutations, it places none whatever on his decision to remove political disabilities. Such decisions lies within his discretion. He clearly has authority, under the Constitution, to remove disabilities from classes of people, as well as to act in individual cases.
The professor also answered another important question to keep in mind as this lawsuit proceeds. The men and women to whom Gov. McAuliffe has restored voting rights cannot have those rights taken away by a subsequent governor who disagrees with the current governor’s views on disenfranchisement. Nor can this group of Virginia citizens have their voting rights taken away by lawmakers. More from Howard: