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  • Breaking: Court to Decide if Gingrich, Huntsman, Santorum, Perry Will Be on Virginia's Primary Ballot

    A very big development in the ballot access lawsuit filed in federal court in Virginia by Texas Governor Rick Perry and joined by Newt Gingrich, Rich Santorum, and Jon Huntsman. Judge John Gibney just filed a five-page order in which he states that

    there is a strong likelihood that the Court will find the residency requirement for petition circulators to be unconstitutional. The authorities make clear that circulating petitions for candidates is a form of protected speech, and that the Commonwealth has a heavy burden to justify the restriction on speech by showing not only that the limitation achieves a valid state interest but also that the limitation is no broader in scope than necessary to achieve that purpose. As in all strict scrutiny cases, the state has a difficult task to demonstrate the propriety of its limitation on protected speech. For this reason, the Court believes that the plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of succeeding on the merits, at least on the issue of the validity of the residency requirement.

    Yesterday, Judge Gibney ordered the Virginia State Board of Elections to notify all local county electoral boards that they are barred “from ordering any ballots” or “from mailing out any absentee ballots” until after the judge holds a hearing on the case on January 13. The judge says in the order that he will make a decision on the merits of the temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction being sought by the candidates on the 13th.

    Additionally, the ACLU of Virginia filed an amicus brief today on the side of the Republican presidential candidates, arguing that Virginia’s 10,000-signature requirement for a presidential candidate to appear on the ballot “reduces the quantity of [political] speech available in Virginia, and directly infringes on the First Amendment rights of candidates, voters, petition circulators, and political parties.”

    The ACLU also argues that Virginia’s residency requirement for petition circulators is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. In fact, the ACLU says that Virginia has “fail[ed] even to articulate a compelling interest.” It asks the court to grant the plaintiffs’ request for a TRO and a preliminary injunction. Looks like the judge agrees with the ACLU.

    So we should know by the end of the day on Friday whether Perry, Gingrich, Huntsman and/or Santorum will be added to the ballot or if the only choices for Virginia voters will be Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in the Republican primary on March 6. With this latest order from the judge, it is highly likely that there will be additional candidates on the ballot.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    31 Responses to Breaking: Court to Decide if Gingrich, Huntsman, Santorum, Perry Will Be on Virginia's Primary Ballot

    1. Some of Newts were forged. How does he defend that? The rules are what the rules are. If you can't follow them, get out of the game!

      • Eddy James says:

        How can the Democrats support a ruling in another state that allowed signatures from Micky Mouse and Adolph Hitler to be included in a recall election? Oh that's right, you wanted to recall a Republican Governor.Some how that's different? It's not like Newt signed them himself.

      • Ron says:

        How does the repub party in va defend changing the rules in the middle of a campaign? U must want to force feed us!

        • John says:

          The Republican Party of Virginia is the defendant in this lawsuit, which was brought against them by the campaigns of those who did not qualify (Gingrich, Santorum, Perry, etc.) The losers want to change the rules.

    2. Matt King says:

      I guess the rule of law doesn't apply. This is gross negligence. These rules were put into place way before and they should have been able to follow them. Ron Paul sure did, why couldn't everyone else?

      Lawsuits are what crybabies do to get what they want.

      • Gayle says:

        Yea..Ron Paul is such a Great Patriot….duh. This same guy said if he were president he would SHUT DOWN all of our military bases all over the world….reduce our military to half of what it is now…legalize ALL drugs( good news for our children), not support Israel $$ anymore, OK"S a mosque near Ground Zero, …etc,.etc.. This whacko IS NOT an American…..NO WAY………

      • @SuniPerkins says:

        PAUL'S was not verified !!!! If on has to go through verifying then at the very least the all must be verified!!

    3. I would agree with you except this affected so many of them. If the whole class fails doesn't it point to perhaps a bad teacher. Accusing a candidate of a crime without any evidence is as bad as accusing the state election board for fraudulent rejection signatures. No proof of either. At least now we have a judicial ruling.

    4. Chip Connors says:

      The Rule of Law must be followed. The legislature settled the Law on behalf of The People of Virginia. The judge needs to shut up and butt out of it. If he persists in sticking his nose in it, he should be pulled off the bench by The People of Virginia. The candidates knew the Law, and they should have produced the signature instead of being pusillanimous cry babies about it

    5. Robert says:

      A. The rule change that caused this problem happened ONE MONTH before the ballots were due.
      B. The Lt. Governor and others in the state administration are heavily involved in Romney's campaign.

      This whole thing smells.

      • Julie says:

        Agree with you, Robert. Normally, I would think Perry's suit was nothing more than crying over spilled milk. However, there is so much wrong with the VA GOP and how this whole thing played out that I was thrilled when Perry filed the suit. It just shows how Perry is not afraid to confront crap when it's flying around.

        One thing I do wonder about, though and that is since neither Huntsman nor Santorum either one even attempted to gather signatures, how can they qualify to be placed on the ballot? Maybe proving that the rules were so onerous as to discourage them from even trying to comply would be enough to qualify them. We shall see come Friday.

      • Julian says:

        That "rule change" – the VA GOP started checking the signatures(because of a lawsuit). Lo and behold, it turns out candidates had been submitting fraudulent signatures! Gingrich and Perry are the only ones of the bunch who even submitted a petition, they were apparently the victims of fraud. I would think the failure to submit a petition at all would mean Santorum and Huntsman lack standing to sue.

    6. Roger Derby says:

      It's politics, of course it smells.

    7. Sue says:

      If the rules are THE SAME as they have been, then Newt, Perry, et al should be excluded. Lots of others including Alan Keyes & Gary Bauer qualified the last go round… "Could'a, would'a, SHOULD'A" I say! (and I worked to get Herman qualified and scurried at the last minute to get Newt on the ballot (after he started rising in Iowa), but too little, too late!) Sorry, none of those guys were serious or competent. I DO think it's an extraordinarily hard process!

    8. Joe says:

      So many thumbs down on "following the rule of law!" Just what I suspected, the Republicans are really progressives too! Can't get it legally? Go AROUND it! Just like Pelosi said on healthcare! Both parties are one, with two very ugly heads.

      • Mike, Wichita Falls says:

        Imagine that…two imperfect parties composed of imperfect people. Choose the lesser of two evils, but don't sit it out. That's what the establishment in both parties wants you to do.

    9. Bobbie says:

      America can't afford baggage. Ron Paul as always, shows his respect for the rule. There's only one area people have a problem with Ron Paul. ONE! Ron Paul's record shows his strength of character, integrity and good will, the exact American character we need to revive America! Take heed everyone. They got rid of the only (government deemed) "minorities" on the list who are both of strong quality and solid will who would've put this country on her feet! The rest of them want too much government!

      • S. Viggiano says:

        I agree. Prayerfully, Perry will rise to the top…he is the brightest candidate. Even though his skills are a little short in the debates, you will notice when he says something it is well thought out. The last debate, every time he spoke there was an applause. I pray he doesn't drop out and stands strong…we would benefit greatly if Perry WON.

    10. Julie says:

      Perry was so right to do this and it sure sounds like he is going to win. Wonder what it will mean for Santorum and Huntsman since they did not even attempt to qualify for the ballot. In any event, if Perry wins and gets his name on the ballot, it will be a huge morale booster for his campaign as well as a slap in the face to the dysfunctional VA GOP.

    11. joe ptak says:

      GOV. RICK PERRY definitely had a difficult job dealing with liberal/moderate IOWA evangelical voters, with open caucuses for Democrats to vote in as well. The number one concern in America is the economy and jobs without question. IOWA has an unemployment rate of 5.7%, and New Hampshire has a 5.2% rate. South Carolina has an unemployment rate of 9.9% and Florida is at 10.0%.

    12. Nikola Tesla says:

      The law only applies to those who cannot sell out the Constitution! Might makes right is coming down the train tracks quickly!
      BTW LMAO, since its the really "bad, corrupt, liberal ACLU!

    13. Charles says:

      The conduct of the Party in reviewing the signatures that were reviewed (Romney's were not) followed no discernible standard how or why signatures were thrown out was not disclosed or discussed. Robert makes a good point above as the Romney campaign has half of the governing body of the party, the state central committee as organizers and the Lt. Governor as it's chair. The rule of law should be followed yes, but what do you do when those who have been put in place to carry out those laws have no regard for it. The courts have been called on to ensure the right to free political speech is ensured.

      • What that Virginia ballot debacle tells WE THE PEOPLE is that the MITT-protector of status quo-Romney fix was in. Both R.I.N.O. and PC Democrats are desperate to get Mitt Romney into office. They are terrified of CHANGE; of having a president elected the people chose; a president who will respond to the people, not corrupt politicians. Let us stay informed, not be swayed by the phony gushing 'historic' reports of the echo chambers-aka- professional pundits/power brokers. Mitt Romney coming out to give his acceptance speech almost the moment the voting closed was sickening! He looked anything but presidential. Keep the faith and the conversation going.

    14. Lee Rippy says:

      The comical part about the whole thing is that the 10000 signature rule was created by the establishment to keep candidates like Ron Paul off the ballot. The tide has turned and it has come to haunt the establishment.

    15. Ken Cucinelli did the right thing by not backing these lawsuits. My only hope is that, if the rule of law is to be sacrificed on the altar of GOP skullduggery, is that it serves to split up the neocon/theocon vote, thus leaving Ron Paul the winner.

      Perry, Gingrinch, etc knew the rules, they were on the table well before this campaign season got started, bottom line is that these crybabies didn't have the ground game or popular support to make the cut! Thumbs me down all you want, bots, you know damn well that if Paul hadn't made the cut, there would be no talk of Federal Lawsuits or changing the rules in the middle of the game. The VA GOP would be like, "Oh, we're sorry, guys!" Thankfully, there are enough Virginians who can read to ensure that such a situation didn't arise.

    16. George says:

      The rules were evenly applied to all the candidates. Over 1,500 of Newt's signatures were fraudulent — even Newt himself admits this. And Perry submitted well less than the required 10,000 signatures. No one else even submitted a blank piece of paper. And the law is not that difficult as in 2008, numerous candidates got on the ballot — even minors ones who had virtually no support.

      Here's a practical question — how do Perry and Gingrich argue that they can change Washington, if they can't even get 10,000 signatures in Virginia? I've gotten on the ballot in Virginia! Why can't they?

    17. COG says:

      Wow. The Heritage Foundation in bed with the ACLU. So called "conservative" pseudo-wannabe candidates — the same schmucks who wrap themselves in the Constitution are now wiping their butts with the Tenth Amendment.

      Does it get any better than this?

      What a pack of hypocrites… thanks for making it oh so obvious that even a Tea Partier would recognize it. An established State Law overturned for the whim of a pack of whiners who couldn't put together enough of an organization to pull off a spot on the ticket.

      Rule of law my ….

    18. Peter Taylor says:

      Here is the deal: to be fair and just to the candidates who had the organization to qualify (which is what this is all about) the rule should be changed AFTER the election. If the people within the State do not care enough to sign the petitions needed, why have the candidates on the ballot? Changing the rules in the middle of the ball game means that RepublicRATS are no different than DemocRATS, and political cronyism is the way to beat the rules. Nice job neocons, you are no different than the DEMs.

    19. Pam says:

      I was just wondering what is worse – changing the rules in the middle of a primary, or "finding" lost ballots, all of them favoring the incumbent (Frank, Reid). I think the latter is slimier.

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