Herring lost his reelection bid in November and will be succeeded on Saturday by Republican Jason Miyares.
The opinions that have been overturned were used to support the state's Massive Resistance campaign, in which Virginia employed a wide variety of tactics to fight off federal desegregation efforts, including shutting down public schools rather than allowing integration.
In 1956, then-Attorney General J. Lindsay Almond, who later became governor, issued an opinion on proposed legislation and how it would aid the broader effort “to save, as far as possible, the public school system from that serious impairment or destruction which mixing of the races would surely bring.”
In 1908, then-Attorney General William A. Anderson weighs in on how children of the “Mongolian or Chinese race” should be classified in Virginia's segregated school system. After explaining that the law itself provides no direct guidance, he ultimately advises that “it would be the duty of the local boards to prohibit the admission of Chinese children into any white school.”
“I suppose there can be no question but that people of the Chinese or Mongolian race are in fact colored people,” he wrote.
One opinion advised county clerks on the best ways to ensure upholding Virginia's interracial ban, which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned in the 1967 Loving v. Virginia case. In the 1920s, multiple opinions were issued to support Democratic Party rules that allowed only whites to vote in party primaries.
“These opinions, unfortunately, shaped the laws, life, and culture of the Commonwealth for too long," said Virginia State Conference NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr., who called Herring's action “an important step towards true reconciliation.”