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A little schadenfreude to end the year

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our only Governor.

Gov. Rick Perry was once again stumped on the stump Thursday, this time with a question about a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that threw out Texas’ anti-sodomy law.

Perry, taking questions at the Blue Strawberry Coffee Company, was asked how his criticism of Lawrence vs. Texas jibes with his views on limited government. The questioner simply named the case without describing its details.

Although Perry cited the case in his anti-Washington book Fed Up! in criticizing the Supreme Court, he said Thursday that he didn’t know what the case is.

“I wish I could tell you I knew every Supreme Court case. I don’t … I’m not a lawyer,” Perry told the person who posed the question. “We can sit here and play ‘I gotcha’ questions on ‘What about this Supreme Court case’ or whatever, but let me tell you — you know and I know that the problem in this country is spending in Washington, D.C. It’s
not some Supreme Court case.”

Asked directly later by a journalist whether he knew what the case is, Perry said, “I don’t.” He added, “I’m not taking the bar exam.”

I can only imagine what the response might have been if the questioner had mentioned Fed Up! by name: “I wish I could tell you I knew every book, but I don’t. I’m not a reader. Hell, I probably couldn’t pass the TAKS test in English with a cheat sheet and George Will sittin’ on my lap.”

Perry may not be a lawyer, but as the story notes, he has lawyers who work for him:

Perry also suffered another setback on a different front Thursday when a federal judge in Richmond rejected his request for an emergency court order to require Virginia’s Board of Elections to place his name on the March Republican presidential primary ballot.

Lawyers for Perry, whose presidential campaign failed to submit enough valid signatures to win a spot on Virginia’s primary ballot, argued that the state’s requirements are “overly burdensome and unconstitutional.”

Yes, he complained that these requirements for participating in the political process are “overly burdensome and unconstitutional”. If he were capable of experiencing human emotion, Ralph Nader would be having a good belly laugh at that. In case anyone managed to miss the overbearing irony of Rick Perry whining about “overly burdensome and unconstitutional” requirements, here’s Ezra Klein to help you out:

Perry is an experienced politician who has hired a professional staff for the express purpose of navigating the logistical hurdle of ballot access. And he still failed to make the Virginia ballot, despite the fact that the rules were well-known and unchanged since the last election.

In Texas, however, Perry has sharply changed the rules, changed them on people who do not have a staff dedicated to helping them vote, and in fact made it harder for outside groups to send professionals into the state to help potential voters navigate the new law.

And here’s the Chron editorial board with an extra helping of salt:

Perry does not deny that he failed to meet the state statutory requirements, but that does not mean he is simply going to take it. Rather, Perry is suing in federal court to overturn this state decision. And for a 10th Amendment advocate like Perry, that’s like rain on his wedding day.

In his complaint, Perry states that Virginia’s ballot requirement places a severe burden on his freedom of speech, because it “prohibits an otherwise qualified candidate for the Office of President of the United States from circulating his own candidate petitions.”

To win this case, Perry is going to need a judge willing to overturn state law. Dare we say, Perry will need an activist judge.

They’re only activist judges when they issue rulings people like Rick Perry don’t like. Personally, I think the courts should make Perry eat a bug before accepting his writ, but I confess I don’t know if that’s proper legal procedure or not. I wish I could tell you I knew all of the legal rules, but I can’t. I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not taking the bar exam. For some schadenfreude of a slightly different flavor, see Jason Stanford.

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