February 14

Regarding the Feb. 12 editorial “Imprudent counsel”:  

In electing Mark R. Herring attorney general, Virginians effectively hired him as the commonwealth’s top lawyer. He took an oath to defend the Constitution and laws of Virginia. Mr. Herring then refused to apply the resources of his office to defend a lawsuit against the same-sex marriage ban that his client (the state) enacted, and he filed a legal brief supporting the other side in the case.

The Post approved of Mr. Herring’s actions but ignored the above facts. He has displayed an appalling lack of appreciation for our government’s separation of powers. He has no judicial capacity to give weight to his opinion, and what he called his “achievement” in “enlisting the state into the battle” over gay marriage is no achievement at all. He has no power to enlist the state. The last time the state spoke on the subject, it enacted its ban. The issue will be decided by courts, possibly to Mr. Herring’s liking. But surely competent jurists will not have been impressed by his self-serving argument against his client’s case.

The Post gently chided Mr. Herring for a “Dear Friends” e-mail inviting supporters to sign a petition and give their e-mail addresses. The Post is right to disapprove of Mr. Herring’s seamless blending “of the role of political opportunist, building his mailing and fundraising lists for a future electoral campaign, with his role of chief counsel for the Commonwealth of Virginia.” Regrettably, however, The Post failed to recognize his dereliction of duty.

Glenn Heidbreder, Ashburn