I will go to great lengths to keep readers informed – in this case, some 500 miles. Tomorrow the U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans will hear the Republican Party of Texas’s appeal of the Tom DeLay ballot case. and I’ll be there. (Great sacrifice, having to eat Sunday night dinner at Galatoire’s.) At issue is whether the RPT can declare DeLay ineligible to run and replace him as the GOP nominee for District 22. DeLay, you’ll recall, concocted a move of his residence from Texas – where he continues to own a home in Sugar Land – to a Virginia condominium. The appeal covers two points: first, whether the Democratic party, the plaintiff in the case, has standing to bring the suit; and second, whether a U.S. constitutional provision allowing states to determine the “time, place, and manner” of elections is broad enough to allow the GOP to remove him from the ballot.
I remember a saying from law school that when the law is on your side, pound on the law; when the facts are on your side, pound on the facts; and when neither are on your side, pound on the table. I looked over the briefs filed by the GOP and by Attorney General Greg Abbott, and I thought I saw too much table pounding – that is, assertions that are not backed up by case law. I think DeLay will lose the case, but – if he is forced to run – he could win the election against Democrat Nick Lampson if there is a voter backlash against federal judges.