Tom Delay An Unlikely GOP Comeback Kid?
Could Tom DeLay be headed back to the House?
A source close to the ex-Congressman tells TIME that DeLay is planning an aggressive campaign to retake the House seat he quit in June if an appeals court lets stand a ruling by a federal judge last week that his name must stay on November’s ballot—even though he has moved to Virginia. “If it isn’t overturned, Katy bar the door!” says a G.O.P. official. “Guess he’ll have to fire up the engines on the campaign and let ‘er rip.”
It would be quite amusing. I can’t imagine the ruling won’t be overturned on appeal, though.
UPDATE: Rick Hasen disagrees and cites precedent.
The leading case on the conflict between state law and the Qualifications Clause is Schaefer v. Townsend, 215 F.3d 1031 (9th Cir. 2000), in which the Ninth Circuit held that “California’s requirement that candidates to the House of Representatives reside within the state before election violates the Constitution by handicapping the class of nonresident candidates who otherwise satisfy the Qualifications Clause.” (See also the Lowenstein and Hasen casebook at 581, briefly discussing Schaefer.) The case has a discussion of the Framers’ intent in drafting the “when elected” language of the Qualifications Clause, a discussion cited by the district court in the DeLay case.
It strikes me as quite bizarre that a candidate who has withdrawn from a House race on grounds that he is moving out of the state, has in fact moved to another state hundreds of miles away, and declared that he has no intention of residing in the state in question by election day would nonetheless be deemed a “potential inhabitant” and thus declared–against his will, mind you–eligible.