Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring Discusses His Role in Equal Rights

  • The Role of the Attorney General
    The Role of the Attorney General  Virgina Attorney General Mark Herring spoke for about an hour and fielded questions from the audience.  Photo by David F. Morrill
  • The Role of the Attorney General
    The Role of the Attorney General  After his talk, the attorney general enjoyed meeting with faculty and students.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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On Tuesday, March 24, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring spoke at William & Mary Law School about the role of the attorney general and the pursuit of equal rights.

“Equality is the cornerstone of American jurisprudence,” Herring said.

During his speech, Herring expressed pride that his office has “given Virginians a different vision of what an attorney general can do for them.” Herring is the first Democrat to serve as Virginia’s attorney general in almost 25 years, and he is the first to successfully argue that his state’s ban on gay marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

Several of the topics Herring discussed included the Affordable Care Act, marriage equality, and immigrants’ status. He also discussed neighborhood safety and his public safety tour, where he listened to the concerns of Virginia community leaders and police officers.

Virginia has a “special history” with civil rights issues; the state has generally argued on the more discriminatory side of these cases, Herring said. He does not “want to repeat the mistake of being on the wrong side of landmark civil rights decisions,” because he believes that Virginia has progressed significantly.

Herring has been using the law to make positive changes in the lives of Virginians and encouraging skilled people to participate and be a part of Virginia’s economy.

As a public official, the Virginia attorney general has a fair amount of critics. However, “the outpouring of support puts the criticism in perspective,” Herring said.

Herring received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia, and graduated with honors from the University of Richmond School of Law.

About William & Mary Law School

Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.