COMMENT: Howell v. McAuliffe

L. Michael Berman

In the summer of 2016, the Supreme Court of Virginia decided Howell v. McAuliffe. The case made national headlines as it was in response to Governor Terry McAuliffe’s attempt to restore the voting rights of more than 206,000 convicted felons. Among the petitioners in the case was the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, William J. Howell; Majority Leader of the Virginia Senate, Thomas Norent, Jr.; as well as four other registered voters. The petitioners sought an injunction to prevent the Governor from granting pardons on a “blanket” basis. The court ordered the injunction and issued a writ of mandamus instructing precisely how the McAuliffe Administration was to rescind the recently restored voting rights, as well as how to proceed with restorations in the future.

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