Virginia is above what just happened this week in Richmond, where an openly gay prosecutor who used his freedom of speech to challenge a federal law that ultimately was struck down by Congress was penalized by a legislative body for those facts. Add to this the fact that Tracy Thorne-Beglund was a former Navy fighter pilot, and insult becomes injury.
Let’s get this straight: a combat veteran and successful prosecutor wanted to be a judge. He had broad bipartisan support. Virginia is the birthplace of the freedom of speech and the freedom of association — absolute freedoms that go to the heart of our God-given liberties and our stature as a land of limitless potential.
But then the fact that he’d spoken out against the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy — which was later democratically struck down by Congress — became cause to vote against him as a district judge.
Not only that, but the floor speeches in Richmond were filled with animus and mockery, falling far short of the level we should expect in Virginia.
A district court judge in Richmond will have virtually nothing to do with any federal policy matters or, really, controversial social matters.
This was an instance of a political take-down — a political rejoinder where this nominee became a pawn in a broader fight.
What a shame.