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Just In: Judge Sides With Texas Democrats on DeLay Ballot Issue! ***UPDATED***

by: Damon McCullar

Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 10:42:54 AM CDT


(Updated - promoted by Damon McCullar)

This just in from The Lonestar Project:

Federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks just ruled in favor of Texas Democrats who sought an injunction to prevent Republicans in Texas Congressional District 22 from replacing Tom DeLay on the congressional ballot. 

Texas Democrats argued that the U.S. Constitution, not State law, defines eligibility to serve in the U.S. Congress.  Judge Sparks agreed.

More details to come.

***UPDATE*** 12:30:  Excerpts from the opinion after the jump from The Lone Star Project

***UPDATE 2*** 1:45pm:  Findings of Fact and Judge Sparks ruling now available now on Quorum Report (warning: will open a *.pdf file)

A quick editorial note from Phillip:

The Statesman article that's out is a bit misleading. It reads:

The Texas Democratic Party sued to keep the indicted Sugar Land Republican on the ballot because party officials believed that their candidate Nick Lampson could more easily defeat DeLay instead of a GOP replacement.

The TDP filed the lawsuit b/c Tom Delay and the Republican Party of Texas were trying to break the law. As Judge Sparks noted -- Delay could have easily withdrawn, but he didn't want to do that because then the RPT couldn't replace him on the ballot. The RPT could have had someone other than Delay on the ballot if Delay hadn't run in the priamry to horde money for his legal defense fund.

Of course Delay would most likely be easier to defeat in November -- but the lawsuit was followed b/c no matter who you are, or how much money you have, you don't get to run roughshod over the voters of Texas. We saw that in the redistricting ruling last week, that declared Delay's map illegal, and we saw that today in Judge Sparks' ruling.

***UPDATE*** 4 4:00:

TDP Statement on Sparks Ruling:

“This is not partisan victory, but a victory for the rule of law.  This case was about protecting the electoral process and preserving the U.S. Constitution, and we are extremely pleased with Judge Sparks’s ruling.

Today’s ruling confirmed what we have believed all along—that this attempt by the Republican Party to replace Tom DeLay on the ballot is at best a manipulation of election law and most importantly, a sham attempt to circumvent the primary process and ignore voters in the 22nd Congressional District.  We felt it was important for somebody to stand up and fight against the Republican scheme to hand-pick the candidate of their choice and subvert the most fundamental aspect of popular democracy—the right of voters to pick their representatives.”



***Final Update***
From Quorum Report

A judge’s ruling to prevent the state Republican Party from replacing Tom DeLay on the ballot was just a few hours old, but representatives from both parties were already looking toward the next legal battle in the appellate court.

Republican Party of Texas Chairwoman Tina Benkiser released a statement Thursday afternoon that she "will appeal this decision in order to protect the voters of Texas and their right to vote for a nominee of their choice."

She criticized U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks’ ruling, saying it "effectively throws the federal election process into total chaos." An appeal would be heard by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cris Feldman, one of three attorneys who argued the case on behalf of state Democrats, said in a Thursday afternoon press conference that Sparks handed down a strong ruling that would be upheld on appeal. "They can have an expedited appeal, but this is a very strong opinion and there are some very strong findings here and their road from this forward is an uphill road," he said.

Let's get one thing straight in this whole mess, Tom DeLay is currently the GOP candidate for TX-22.  Unless this ruling is overturned on appeal, which is unlikely, he will be the guy that  TX-22 votes for in November.  He only resigned from Congress and ATTEMPTED to be ruled ineligible. 

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that judgment be entered in favor of Plaintiffs [Texas Democratic Party] and that Defendant [Tina Benkiser, in her capacity as Chairwoman of the Republican Party of Texas] and anyone acting in concert with her, on her behalf, or at her direction is permanently enjoined and restrained from:

Declaring Tom DeLay ineligible as the Republican candidate for the general election ballot for the United State House of Representatives from the Texas District 22 to be held on November 7, 2006;
Certifying to the Texas Secretary of State any candidate other than Tom DeLay to appear on the ballot in the 2006 general election as the Republican Party nominee for the United State House of Representatives from the Texas District 22; and
Certify to the Texas Secretary of State that Tom DeLay is ineligible to be the Republican Party nominee for the United State House of Representatives from the Texas District 22, or if she already done so, Defendant is enjoined to withdraw any certification that Tom DeLay is ineligible.
IT IS FURTER ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that Tom DeLay is not ineligible to be the Republican Party nominee for the United State House of Representatives from the Texas District 22 and that any previous declaration of ineligibility made Benkiser is void.” (United States District Court, TDP v Tina Benkiser Chairwoman of TRP, June 26, 2006, pages 1-2)

From the Analysis
“There is simply no evidence before the Court that DeLay is ineligible under the United States Constitution and certainly no conclusive evidence that DeLay will be ineligible on November 7, 2006.” (United States District Court, TDP v Tina Benkiser Chairwoman of TRP, June 26, 2006 page 9)

From the Conclusion
“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 himself testified that he does not know what will happen with his life in November, stating only that he plans to continue living in Virginia ‘indefinitely.’

“The Constitution ‘nullifies sophisticated as well as simple-minded modes’ of infringing on constitutional protections.’ U.S. Term Limits, Inc v Thornton, 514 U.S. 779, 829 (1995)(quoting Lane v Wilson, 307 U.S. 268,275 (1939))…

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.” (United States District Court, TDP v Tina Benkiser Chairwoman of TRP, June 26, 2006 page 15) (emphasis added)” (United States District Court, TDP v Tina Benkiser Chairwoman of TRP, June 26, 2006 page 15)

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Just In: Judge Sides With Texas Democrats on DeLay Ballot Issue! ***UPDATED*** | 42 comments | Time to post comments expired.
 
We beat him in the courthouse..... (0.00 / 0)
Now we can beat him at the polls.

by: johncoby @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:11:14 AM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
Yeah, (0.00 / 0)
DeLay has staked his success on not breaking laws in a technical sense.  It's good to see that someone has seen through what he's actually done, but more to his intent.


They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -Benjamin Franklin
by: Damon McCullar @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:21:47 AM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
The Merde Factor (0.00 / 0)
I think at one point Baby Snooks posted something on BOR about how Baby Snooks didn't trust De Lay or his withdrawing. Something smelled.  STill does.

If he's on the ballot, people can vote for him. Even though he resigned and withdrew. He could sit back and do nothing, watch people vote for him, and then he could claim the people have spoken and return to Congress.


by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:33:28 AM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
If he does not live in the district (0.00 / 0)
I don't think he can be on the ballot.


Prisoner of hope.
by: comeon @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:49:10 AM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Here come da judge... (0.00 / 0)
The judge just ruled he WILL remain on the ballot. 

He can always change everything and "move back" to Sugar Land. So that the Republicans have a candidate that they can vote for.

The man is not stupid. He can't spell ethics.  But he can spell.  Words like  manipulation and Machiavelli and sneaky and sleazy. And winning.


by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 12:03:14 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
What a bunch of B.S. (0.00 / 0)
I say if you resign, you resign.
Did he or did he not withdraw?


Prisoner of hope.
by: comeon @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 12:11:04 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
I agree (0.00 / 0)
he did officially withdraw.

The judge said his name had to remain on the ballot.  But it's the name of a candidate who declared he is not in the race.  Therefore, is his name on the ballot just a name without a candidate?

by: merci_me @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 12:44:57 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
No (0.00 / 0)
His name is on the ballot. And as such, despite his having resigned and withdrawn, he is still the Republican candidate. And so people may vote for him. And probably will.

Which may be what he intended. A mandate. By the people.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 13:12:01 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
He did not withdraw (2.00 / 1)
He was declared ineligible by the Republican Party of Texas. Had he withdrawn he would be off the ballot with no chance of replacement.

From an article today from the Associated Press:
"Republican leaders say they declared DeLay "ineligible" because of his move to Alexandria, Va., allowing the party to choose a new nominee. They say he did now "withdraw," a distinction that would have prevented the party from replacing him."

by: LubbockDem @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 13:28:59 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Whatever... (1.00 / 1)
He's still on the ballot.  And this is still a democracy. What's left of it.  And people can vote for him. And will.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 14:37:55 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
yea, I should have researched that (0.00 / 0)
i guess he just moved and considered himself inelligible,
What an ass.
Can he even withdraw once he is on the ballot, or can he only refuse office if elected?
Not that he would. But just a technical question.


Prisoner of hope.
by: comeon @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:40:25 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
I think (0.00 / 0)
And God knows I might be wrong about this, but I think he could technically withdraw, but if he did, the R's couldn't name a replacement. I'm not sure, though, b/c the laws for federal candidates are different than for state candidates.

Rep. Luna withdrew -- but the D's and R's can have someone replace her b/c no one else appeared on any ballot for that district in 2006. Then again -- that law is specifically for elected officials of the state legislature...


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

by: Phillip Martin @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:44:55 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Third person (0.00 / 0)
Ugh.


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.
by: Phillip Martin @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:55:30 AM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Oh please (1.00 / 1)
Go Ugh yourself.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 14:38:43 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
don't you zee? (0.00 / 0)
zhat it waz az joke?


I can help you ActBlue.
by: Karl-Thomas Musselman @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:10:46 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
az? (0.00 / 0)
As in I got a nice piece of "az"?  Or Baby Snooks is an "az"?  Or Tom Delay "az" no chance of winning?

by: Joe @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:26:28 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Or... (1.00 / 1)
As in you can go ugh yourself as well. In the az.


by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 16:08:58 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
I also remember... (0.00 / 0)
When Baby Snooks was accusing Ronnie Earle of a bunch of partisan hackery, and saying Delay deserved fair treatment.


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.
by: Phillip Martin @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:28:22 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Well... (0.00 / 0)
When Ronnie Earle says repeatedly that Tom De Lay is not a target of this investigation and the suddenly goes "grand jury shopping," the thing, as it says, speaks for itself.

Go ugh yourself.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 16:06:39 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Whatever (0.00 / 0)
I find it hard to believe that you don't really think Delay acted illegally -- with trying to be declared inelligible, with the redistricting map that was ruled illegal, and with his money laundering charges. Its even more amazing that you defend him and say that he's good for Houston and good for Texas.


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.
by: Phillip Martin @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 16:18:49 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Excuse me? (0.00 / 0)
I never said I believed one way or the other.  Not my place to believe whether something is illegal. I am not an attorney.  Whether it is or not is up to a judge and a jury to decide. Not me.  Or you for that matter.

I have never defended his lack of ethics. But pointed out the lack of ethics on the part of Chris Bell as well and THAT is what you don't like.

As for Tom De Lay having been good for Houston, well, yes, he was. We got a lot of funding we might not have gotten otherwise. Which may explain why Greater Houston Partnership is honoring him. And why Bob Lanier donated to his legal defense fund instead of to Chris Bell's campaign.

I have never defended him. Nor would I.

Take an Ex-Lax. You're full of it.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 17:32:05 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Ha (0.00 / 0)
You've said that he's been good for Houston, that he's good for Texas, that we're unfairly going to try and lynch him, etc. Tell me how that's not defending him.


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.
by: Phillip Martin @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 08:21:31 AM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Oh, my (0.00 / 0)
So young you are.  And it shows. More and more.

Please find the posts where I've said he's good for Texas and that anyone is trying to unfairly trying to lynch him.  Your words. Not mine.  And no twisting of mine, now.  Little boy.


by: Baby Snooks @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 12:46:51 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Sure (0.00 / 0)
Right here.

You write:

All things aside, and there are lots of things to put aside with him, he nonetheless has been very good for Houston and for Texas. Something no one thought about in their desire to lynch him.

Save your "young" snipes. You're a flat-out liar. And it shows. More and more.


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

by: Phillip Martin @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 13:31:42 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Okay (0.00 / 0)
But I still say it's up to the courts to decide if what he did was illegal or not. Not you. Not I.

But then if the courts rule he didnt, you will claim it's because of the Republican corruption on the courts. Despite a Republican judge just ruling against the Republicans. Or something else. Instead of reality.

My only real point, which you seem to have always overlooked, is that I would be pleased to see him go.

I have never, again, defended his lack of ethics. Or anyone else's lack of ethics.  Republican or Democrat.

"All things aside, and there are lots of things to put aside with him..."

That is hardly a defense of him or his actions.

Just the same, Houston, and Texas, may suffer in terms of appropriations. He did manage to protect interests in the Houston area.  And in that sense, in Texas as well. Sometimes without using his hammmer.  Just using his seniority.  Why seniority is not such a bad thing and why term limitation is. Tom De Lay merely abused that as well as everything else.

As for lynching him, that is what you would like to do. To hell with the law.

Doesn't work that way. 


by: Baby Snooks @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 14:39:36 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Um, yeah (0.00 / 0)
Admit you're wrong and apologize for these BS "little boy" remarks.


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.
by: Phillip Martin @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 15:09:00 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Not about to (0.00 / 0)
You twist things to make things appear the way you want. And delete those things you can't twist. 

by: Baby Snooks @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 16:42:39 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
I don't delete comments (0.00 / 0)
I rate them. If they include curse words, out and out lies, or entirely pointless bullshit, I rate them "0." Otherwise, I don't touch them. You, however, continue to lie, and continue to insult me b/c I'm the only one willing to call you out for lying.

If the insults keep up, you're gonna get banned. I'm just telling you -- state opinions, be ornery, whatever. But keep making insults, calling me "little boy," and spewing out and out trash, and you're going to get banned. I know one of you already has...


Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

by: Phillip Martin @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 21:23:35 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Please (0.00 / 0)
As much as I have posted, I can't be expected to remember word for word everything I have posted.  You, however, seem obssessed with everything I have posted. And take what I've posted out of context.

"...and you're going to get banned. I know one of you already has..."

One of whom and banned from what? 


by: Baby Snooks @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 23:31:51 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
I heard... (0.00 / 0)
...the top pop off the bottle of Champagne at Lampson headquarters all the way from DC.

by: thegipper @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:32:37 AM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
I'll let you know if it's true (0.00 / 0)
I went block walking last night for Nick and I think this may make me go back again today for some more.

Life does not get any sweeter. DeLay is our best opponent, only thing that may have been sweeter would have been no opponent where the republican would have to try a write in bid, and trust me, David Wallace is not a good campaigner.

by: trowaman @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 13:26:21 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
I was with Nick Lampson today! (0.00 / 0)
Everyone was excited at campaign headquarters. But, also, it was just the same old resolve we all have always had. Nick found ourselves saying to a visitor (who said, "I think you can beat him now")  - at the same exact time, in unison - "we could beat him any time!"

They were busy tackling serous campaign issues there. Nick was working on a project in the community regarding missing children, we worked on details about setting up a new campaign office in Houston, they were setting up interviews, etc.

It was the typical, busy Lampson campaign office, with a lot of excitement in the air!


by: muse @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 23:59:25 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
So can he..... (0.00 / 0)
start raising money again, since he will still be technically still be a candidate? 

Wasn't he able to transfer his campaign funds over to his legal defense fund when he stepped down?  What's to keep him from doing it again and build up more of a defense fund?

I'm sure 'normal' people wouldn't donate to him, but you never know what motivates people. 

by: terrelldemocrat @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 11:33:26 AM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
heh (0.00 / 0)
Beat me to it.

Way beat me.

by: Yui_Hongo @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 14:32:20 PM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
discussion on Air America (0.00 / 0)
Ed Schultz just said he wants to discuss this (it's 3:30 as I write this). Of course, there will be about 10 minutes of commercials, and then several callers about other things, but if you can listen to Air America (AM 1600 in Austin), there should be a discussion before 5.


We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty - Firefly
by: BeckyH @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:18:34 PM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
Dude at Least Body Richie Kicked Elephant (0.00 / 0)
OK, so seriously, for all the crap we give TDP they really did a great job on the techinical crap of the GOP.  I was really impressed that they stood up for Nick and called out Delay!

by: Katie Naranjo @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 15:32:04 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
what did they do? (0.00 / 0)


by: david @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 16:00:16 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Lampson was on the radio (0.00 / 0)
for a few minutes around 4 - national exposure has to help, right? I hope he got lots of donations & hits on his website.


We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty - Firefly
by: BeckyH @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 18:28:41 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
Well before you ask the question... (0.00 / 0)
Here's the answer.

http://tinyurl.com/rl62h

Earlier in the day, his daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro, issued a statement on his behalf.

"Tom DeLay looks forward to the correct decision being rendered by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.  As a resident of Virginia, he cannot lawfully be on the ballot in November.  It is unfortunate that the voters of the 22nd District of Texas are the ones who bear the brunt of Judge Sparks' ill-advised decision, but it is highly likely that it will be overturned and the voters will have a Texas 22 Republican on the ballot who will defeat Nick Lampson," she said.

Of course the answer raises another question. If he cannot lawfully be on the ballot, then how can be lawfully be on the ballot? 

I thought he had withdrawn. I guess he only resigned. If he could have just simply withdrawn, why didn't he?

Maybe enough Republicans will have tired of it by November and vote for Lampson just to be rid of it and none of it will matter.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 16:23:16 PM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
And off to the Supreme Court we go.... (0.00 / 0)
The Fifth Circuit could reverse the decision. And then what? The Democrats take it to the Supreme Court? I can just hear the Supremes yawning and saying, oh, well, yes, we'd love to hear it. Come back in October.

Damned if you do and damned if you don't. And Chris Bell wants to take credit for bringing down Tom De Lay? Be my guest. But he can also take credit for the mess created and being created in the process. Which might in the end bring Tom De Lay back up after it brought him down. And put him right back into Congress. 

Which may, again, be what he intended.

Here's to some lucid Republicans getting fed up with it all and voting for Lampson. 

Of course Tom De Lay could be a nice guy and just go ahead and withdraw.

When hell freezes over.

by: Baby Snooks @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 16:31:17 PM CDT
[ Parent | Reply ]
 
The Republicans will appeal... (0.00 / 0)
...to the 5th Circuit Court, which might overturn Sparks.

by: TheUNTEdge @ Thu Jul 06, 2006 at 17:37:25 PM CDT
[ Reply ]
 
another scenario (0.00 / 0)
couldn't Republicans present a map to the three judge panel that slightly alters CD22 and, by doing so, makes it neccesary to have a primary?


by: david @ Fri Jul 07, 2006 at 15:15:43 PM CDT
[ Reply ]
Just In: Judge Sides With Texas Democrats on DeLay Ballot Issue! ***UPDATED*** | 42 comments | Time to post comments expired.

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