The Chron tells us what we already knew about the three-judge federal panel from the Fifth Circuit that will hear the appeal of Judge Sam Sparks’ ruling in the DeLay ballot replacement lawsuit. They also note some new amicus briefs that have been filed.
13 current and former Democratic legislators who passed the election law in 1983 filed a friend-of-the-court brief saying the Legislature did not want to make it easy for political parties to change nominees in mid-election.
The brief said the law was passed to prevent both political parties from “engaging in gamesmanship in the conduct of elections.” It said both parties had engaged in “abuses” of candidate swapping.
In the 1980 primary season, eight candidates declined their party nominations and were replaced. In the next election, 10 candidates did the same.
Both parties used stalking-horse candidates. If they thought the other party nominee could be defeated, their nominee would withdraw and be replaced with a stronger candidate.
“The Legislature intended that the voters’ choice be respected and preserved, regardless of political considerations,” said the brief as written by attorney Susan Hays of Dallas.
As for the other brief:
One of the prospective candidates who wants to replace DeLay on the ballot, Sugar Land Mayor David Wallace, also filed a friend-of-the-court brief.
Wallace’s brief argues that the Texas Democratic Party is trying to have an interest in “choosing its opponent, a notion inimical to the foundations of our democracy.”
Wallace said Benkiser was following a procedure for replacing an ineligible candidate, not adopting new, unconstitutional standards of eligibility.
“It would undoubtedly cause voter confusion and frustrate the democratic process to force DeLay to remain on the ballot given the conclusive evidence that he will not be a resident of Texas upon election day,” said Wallace’s brief, by attorney Andrius Kontrimas of Houston.
According to Juanita, Kontrimas is Wallace’s campaign treasurer, and he’s asking to have his services on this brief counted as pro bono work. Dave’s quite a guy, isn’t he?