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Birdwell will be on the ballot

So says the Fifth Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel from that court ruled against the Democrats and said it won’t consider rehearing the case because of pending election deadlines:

We conclude relators have not shown they are entitled to the relief requested. Accordingly,we deny relators’ petition for writ of mandamus. See TEx. R. APP. P. 52.8(a). By separate order, we deny Birdwell’s and Munisteri’s joint emergency motion to dismiss.Because of the apparent limited time remaining as to certain deadlines identified by the relators with regard to the general election, see TEX. ELEC. CODE ANN. § 145.064.065, no motion for rehearing will be entertained.

The full ruling is attached.

I’ve read the ruling, and though I Am Not A Lawyer, I think I get the gist of it: Basically, the court said there were steps that should have been taken by the plaintiffs prior to this that weren’t; that the documents they submitted were not “sworn or certified”, which therefore lent them less credibility; and that there was at least one dispute of fact relating to the documents, which is a job for a district court to sort out, not an appeals court. I can’t say I have a beef with any of that, so there you have it. Let’s file this under “Reasons Why Some Of Us Have Been Advocating A Run Everywhere Strategy” and move on.

A more interesting question is the one Abby Rapoport raises, which is whether residency requirements should matter at all. To be perfectly honest, we probably ought to give some consideration to rethinking such things. Everybody knows that the requirements we have now for all kinds of offices are regularly flouted and skirted. People buy second houses, rent apartments that they never really live in, claim the domicile of a parent or sibling or even an estranged spouse as their “official” residence, and more, in order to comply with existing statutes. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anyone who has truly run afoul of these laws in recent years, despite the often ludicrous and usually well-known efforts to appear to be obeying them. (It’s occasionally a successful campaign issue, as it was against Rick Santorum in 2006 in Pennsylvania, but he likely would have lost anyway, and I’m really referring to candidates being booted because of it.) Asking “What’s the point?” is not at all unreasonable. One could make a similar argument against residency requirements that is often made against term limits, namely that if The People want a particular person to represent them in a particular office, they should have the right to vote for that person. For a variety of reasons I expect nothing to change, but there were to be such an effort, I’d support it.

UPDATE: The Trib, which agrees with my reading of the decision, has more.

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