Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay resigned from Congress and withdrew himself from consideration for re-election, after he had already won a GOP primary, claiming he moved to Virginia and was therefore ineligible. A lawsuit challenged the move, arguing a) DeLay couldn't take his name of the ballot just because he expected to lose; and b) that DeLay, by matter of election law, <i>has</i> to appear on the ballot.
Last month, a federal court agreed. Today, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that ruling.
Thursday's ruling said that GOP state chairwoman Tina Benkiser acted unconstitutionally when she tried to remove DeLay as the party nominee because he lived in Virginia. Democrats had noted that DeLay's wife, Christine, still lives in the DeLays' house in Sugar Land, just outside Houston. The U.S. Constitution says that anyone who lives in the state on the day of the election is qualified to run for Congress, the 5th Circuit said.
"Proof of DeLay's present residency may suggest where he will be in the future; however, it does not put the matter beyond dispute or question," the opinion said.
There's already talk that DeLay's lawyers are considering an appeal to the Supreme Court, but given the results so far, it's probably safe to assume DeLay's name will appear on the ballot in November. For the GOP, that's a problem.
Jesse Lee has more.
--Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report