The Senate Courts of Justice Committee approved Cuccinelli’s nomination by a 9-6 vote margin.
State Sen. Richard Stuart (R-Stafford County) on Tuesday nominated Cuccinelli to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe nominated interim state Supreme Court Justice Jane Marum Roush, but the Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates on March 2 formally rejected her nomination. State Sen. Glen Sturtevant (R-Richmond) blocked GOP efforts to nominate Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Rossie Alston.
The Associated Press reported the full Senate will likely consider Cuccinelli’s nomination on Wednesday.
“I have been approached to consider an appointment to the Virginia Supreme Court,” said Cuccinelli in a statement. “I am humbled and honored to be considered for such a position, but it is not something that my wife and I have previously contemplated. Together, we will prayerfully review this possibility in light of our family’s needs and whether or not this is the best way for us to contribute to making Virginia a better place to live going forward.”
Former Va. attorney general ‘unfit for the bench’
Cuccinelli has faced scathing criticism from advocates over his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples and other LGBT-specific issues.
Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, on Tuesday noted that the former attorney general in 2008 described the “homosexual agenda” as “something that I believe brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of the soul.” Cuccinelli two years later recommended Virginia colleges and universities remove LGBT-specific provisions from their non-discrimination policies.
McAuliffe during an October 2013 campaign appearance at Virginia Tech pointed out that Cuccinelli once described gay Virginians as “soulless human beings.”
McAuliffe a few weeks later narrowly defeated Cuccinelli.
“The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community deserve a justice that respects all Virginians,” said Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish on Tuesday in an email to his organization’s supporters.
The Democratic Party of Virginia in a press release said Cuccinelli’s record on LGBT-specific issues “makes him unfit for the bench.”
“This is an embarrassment and affront to the people of Virginia and to the judicial process,” said Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam in a statement his office released on Wednesday. “Ken Cuccinelli has spent his career as an activist trying to outlaw abortion and birth control, denying science and climate change and aggressively denigrating and denying our LGBT community of basic rights.”