13 January 2012

Virginia court to Perry: You didn't say 'unconstitutional' in time.

By March 6, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul may be the only candidates left for the Republican presidential nomination. In that case, a Virginia court's decision upholding that state's ballot-access law and keeping Messrs. Gingrich, Huntsman, Perry and Santorum off the ballot won't make any difference. Readers may recall that Perry had challenged the law, which required him to collect several thousands of signatures throughout the state without the assistance of out-of-state campaign workers. A federal judge has now bitch-slapped Perry by telling him that, had the Texan filed his protest earlier, before the deadline date for the signatures, he would have overturned the law. But because Perry waited until after the deadline had passed and he'd fallen short of the requirements, the judge concludes that he and the other complainants "played the game, ... lost, and then ... complained about the rules."

Wait a minute. Presuming that the judge would have struck the law down because he deemed it unconstitutional, did that law somehow become less unconstitutional after the deadline, or because Perry tried to abide by it? Maybe the judge reasoned that Perry thought the law unconstitutional only after he failed to meet its requirements. But you don't decide a constitutional question on the ground that the petitioner is a spoilsport -- especially if you, the judge, have just said you would have otherwise overturned the law.  Perry's team has every right to be pissed, and to appeal. I haven't made any Idiot nominations this week, but I have a feeling this would be one week when Perry would not win.


hobbyfan said...

I'd say Judge Jabroni would be in line for Idiot honors, even if you could prove partisanship in favor of a certain candidate that would stand to gain from the reduced field.

Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that unless someone brings such a problem to the court, the justices cannot simply find a law "unconstitutional".

I would like to think that what the judge is trying to say, is that the law is unconstitutional, but to strike it down now would be to allow the court to be used as a partisan instrument and, should Perry wish to file a complaint after the election, the judge would find in favor of Perry.