September 16, 2008
Bob Barr sues to remove Obama, McCain from Texas ballot
Libertarian presidential candidate wants to remove both John McCain and Barack Obama from the ballot in Texas and has filed suit to eliminate the major-party candidates from consideration by Texas voters.
His argument is that the Democratic and Republican parties technically violated state election law by delivering written certification of their nominations by 5 p.m. 70 days before the Nov. 4 election.
"The seriousness of this issue is self-evident," the lawsuit states. "The hubris of the major parties has risen to such a level that they do not believe that the election laws of the State of Texas apply to them."
The former Georgia congressman's campaign manager -- a former top aide to Ross Perot -- accused American courts of displaying a double standard on ballot access issues.
"The facts of the case are not in dispute," said Russell Verney. "Republicans and Democrats missed the deadline, but were still allowed on the ballot. Third parties are not allowed on the ballot for missing deadlines, as was the case for our campaign in West Virginia, yet the Texas secretary of state's office believes Republicans and Democrats to be above the law."
Barr has scheduled a press conference outside the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday morning to press his case -- to reporters, at least.
Here are details of Barr's complaint:
Texas election code §192.031 requires that the "written certification" of the "party's nominees" be delivered "before 5 p.m. of the 70th day before election day." Because neither candidate had been nominated by the official filing deadline, the Barr campaign argues it was impossible for the candidates to file under state law.
"Supreme Court justices should recognize that their responsibility is to apply the law as passed by the Legislature, and the law is clear that the candidates cannot be certified on the ballot if their filings are late," says Drew Shirley, a local attorney for the Barr campaign, who is also a Libertarian candidate for the Texas Supreme Court.
A 2006 Texas Supreme Court decision ruled that state laws "does not allow political parties or candidates to ignore statutory deadlines."
Orrin Grover, attorney for Bob Barr and Wayne Root, said that he believes that the Texas Secretary of State is bound by Texas law to remove the Republican and Democratic nominees from the November ballot. "Either we have rules and deadlines, or we do not," Grover said.
The Chairman of the Texas Libertarian Party, Pat Dixon stated, "Libertarian principles require personal responsibility for your acts and failures. Obama and McCain failed to meet the deadlines. They must follow the law like everyone else."
The petition also alleges that the Democratic Party's late presidential filing falsely claimed under oath that Senator Obama had been nominated hours before the nomination actually occurred.