Score one for Team DeLay.
Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has won a tactical victory with the removal of Justice Diane Henson, a Democrat, from his appeal.
A motion to remove Henson was granted late Friday without comment and posted on the 3rd Court of Appeals’ website. The action might put the much-delayed appellate case back on track.
“All we ever asked for was a level playing field,” said Brian Wice, DeLay’s appellate lawyer from Houston. “That wasn’t going to happen as long as Justice Henson’s DNA was on the case.”
In his motion, Wice had complained about what he called “anti-Republican” comments Henson had made about his client, a prominent Republican, several years ago.
When Wice challenged Henson, the 3rd Court was down to Chief Justice Woodie Jones, a Democrat, and Justice Melissa Goodwin, a Republican, to decide whether Henson could hear the DeLay case.
Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson added a third, temporary justice to hear the motion against Henson. He appointed San Antonio District Judge David Berchelmann Jr., a Republican and a former criminal appellate justice.
With Henson now off the case, Wice said Saturday he expects Jefferson will appoint a justice to hear oral arguments with Jones and Goodwin.
See here, here, and here for background. I seriously doubt this ruling would make any difference in the outcome of DeLay’s appeal, but now there’s one less cause for appeal if he loses again. Let’s get this show on the road already. Postcards and Hair Balls have more.