Remember when this happened for Rep. Thad McCotter, thus ensuring that he would remain in the House of Representatives even though he didn’t collect the signatures state election law requires to get on the ballot? No? That’s because it didn’t happen. Nor should it have, even if the signatures hadn’t been determined to be partially fraudulent. There are rules in place well before the primary, and incumbents like McCotter and Conyers are and should be well aware of them. But Conyers’ story has a different ending than McCotter’s.

Today, Rep. John Conyers lost his ballot appeal with the state elections board because he came up 400 votes short for being on the ballot in the primary. At that time, his people said he planned to wage a write-in campaign. But several hours later, a federal judget came to the rescue because as soon as Conyers can’t manage to meet this rather simple threshold after almost 50 years in office, it’s now unconstitutional, or something.

Conyers needed 1,000 petition signatures to get a spot in the Democratic primary. But many petitions were thrown out because the people who gathered names weren’t registered voters or listed a wrong registration address. That left him more than 400 short.

But Leitman’s injunction said a Michigan law that puts strict requirements on petition circulators is similar to an Ohio law that was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in 2008.

Leitman said the free speech rights of Conyers and the circulators were harmed, an argument pressed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

There’s evidence that the failure to comply with the law was a “result of good-faith mistakes and that (circulators) believed they were in compliance with the statute,” the judge said.

Conyers, 85, told WXYZ-TV,”I’m trying not to smile openly much but this is very good news, and it’s also good news for the process.”

What other long-standing rules and regulations hurt Conyers’ free speech rights, I wonder, by preventing him from doing whatever the hell he wants whenever he wants to?

Back when the decision of the state elections board still stood, Politico pointed out he massive blow this might mean to the Michigan delegation’s already endangered seniority in Congress. Get ready to have your stomach turned by our citizen legislature:

If Conyers doesn’t make the ballot and loses his write-in bid, it would represent another blow to Michigan’s congressional seniority. The state could lose roughly 190 years of congressional seniority at the end of this year.

Democrat John Dingell, the Dean of the House, is retiring after nearly 60 years in the House. GOP Reps. Dave Camp and Mike Rogers, with a combined 38 years of seniority, aren’t seeking reelection, either.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin is retiring after his sixth term in the upper chamber. Rep. Gary Peters, who has served six years in the House, is locked in a difficult race to succeed Levin.

Background on the Conyers ballot fail, here.