I wish I had more confidence this will standup on appeal. Still, it’s fun while it lasts.
AUSTIN — A federal judge ruled today that Republicans cannot replace former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on the ballot for the 22nd Congressional District race.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, a Republican appointee, ruled that DeLay must appear on the Nov. 7 ballot as the GOP nominee for the congressional seat that he abandoned last month.
Sparks said DeLay could “withdraw'’ from the race under Texas election law, but that still would not allow the Republicans to replace him on the ballot.
In entering the order Judge Sparks was not, shall we say, overly tender in his comments. It is, in fact, hard to avoid the conclusion that he considers Tom DeLay to be a big fat fibber.
Here’s a portion of the court’s ruling, from TPMmuckraker:
Political acumen, strategy, and manufactured evidence, even combined with sound policy in mind, cannot override the Constitution. The evidence presented in this case provides no basis for Benkiser’s declaration that Tom DeLay was not eligible to remain the nominee of the Republican Party under state or federal law… there is no evidence that DeLay will still be living in Virginia tomorrow, let alone on November 7, 2006, the only day that matters under the Qualification Clause of the United States Constitution….
DeLay was chosen as the Republican nominee by the voters in the Republican primary, and he is still eligible to be the party’s nominee. He may, of course, withdraw as is his right, but neither political parties, state legislatures, secretaries of state, nor the federal courts may rewrite the United States Constitution.
Bottom line, the decision leaves the GOP with an extraordinarily unappetizing decision to make: Either concede a Republican leaning district to the Democrats, or run DeLay after all. And I’ll let you in on a little secret; as much as I would love for the Democrats to get a freebie, I really sort of hope the Republicans pick the second option. It would just be so much fun watching Tom DeLay try to convince Texas voters that they should vote for him despite the fact he recently declared himself to be a Virginia citizen.
What’s he going to say? Shucks folks, I was just a foolin’.
Fun stuff. I hope it holds up, though I’m not holding my breath. I’ve just been disappointed one time to many on the final outcome of federal litigation involving political issues. Still, I suppose anything’s possible.