The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has set the Tom DeLay ballot case (Texas Democratic Party v. Benkiser) for oral arguments on Monday, July 31, in New Orleans. The Court had the option of deciding the case on the briefs alone, so a reasonable conclusion is that the legal issues are sufficiently clouded that the judges want to ask some questions and hear some answers. As the case now stands, state Republican Party chairman Tina Benkiser is enjoined from replacing DeLay on the ballot as the Republican nominee for Congress in District 22 because his effort to move his residence from Texas to Virginia does not make him ineligible to be a candidate. The main question on appeal will be whether language in the U.S. Constitution allowing states to determine the “times, places, and manner” of holding elections gives party officials constitutional wiggle room to declare DeLay ineligible.
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