Tuesday, January 17, 2012
"We cannot grant Movant’s request for this extraordinary remedy. We find it unnecessary to address whether Movant would ikely succeed in his constitutional challenges because the district court was correct in concluding that the defense of laches bars the requested relief on the instant motion in any
In its opinion today, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court and rejected the emergency appeal of Rick Perry - - - and intervernor Newt Gingrich - - - seeking to be placed on the Republican Presidential Primary ballot in Virginia.
The Fourth Circuit panel found both prongs of the laches inquiry satisfied and rooted its reasoning in the need for judicial restraint. In short, a federal court should not disrupt an orderly election process based on complaints by candidates who waited until the "eleventh hour" to bring their claims. To do otherwise would be to
encourage candidates to wait until the last minute to bring constitutional challenges to state election laws. Once a candidate learned he had been denied a place on the ballot, he would take his disappointment to the courthouse and hapless state election boards would be forced to halt their scheduled election processes to wait for a ruling. Challenges that came immediately before or immediately after the preparation and printing of ballots would be particularly disruptive and costly for state governments.
The panel also turned the lack of standing and ripeness arguments advanced by the candidates to their disadvantage: while the candidate "predicts that he would have met the 10,000 signature threshold if only he had been allowed to use non-Virginia residents to gather signatures, such counterfactual speculation is not the office of the federal judiciary."