WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The Washington Post said in an editorial Thursday that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli needs to resign now that he has announced his gubernatorial run.
The Post says Cuccinelli "already has done a lot to politicize the office he holds."
The conservative attorney general, just months after taking office in January 2010, filed his own lawsuit against President Barack Obama's federal health care law.
The law's mandate requires individuals who do not purchase health insurance to pay a yearly $695 penalty. Cuccinelli argued that the mandate clashed with the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which says Virginians are not required to purchase health insurance.
The Fourth Circuit ruled in Cuccinelli's case that he did not have standing to challenge the law on behalf of the state of Virginia because the State wouldn't be affected by the mandate. Only individual Virginians would be, the court said in overturning a district judge's ruling.
Meanwhile, an appeal by 26 other states, also challenging the law's individual mandate, will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In insisting that he stay on as the state's top lawyer, Cuccinelli is "bucking more than 60 years of bipartisan Virginia history," the newspaper argues.
The Post notes that since the 1940s, 10 of the state's 11 elected attorneys general have made a run for the Governor's Office, and nine have resigned to pursue the post.
"Mr. Cuccinelli will inevitably further politicize his office, adding a partisan cast to every significant move it makes," the Post wrote.
Last week, Cuccinelli announced he would run for governor in 2013. He will most likely be facing Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling in the state's gubernatorial primary. Bolling serves under current Gov. Bob McDonnell, who was Cuccinelli's predecessor as attorney general.
"If Mr. Cuccinelli's intent is to invite cynicism and cast ill repute on the position he holds and the office over which he presides, he is doing a bang-up job," the newspaper wrote.
Two Republican state lawmakers have already announced their interest in Cuccinelli's job.
Last week, state Sen. Mark Obenshain said he was considering a run. On Tuesday, state Delegate Robert B. Bell officially announced his candidacy for the post.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.