Federal judge allows Conyers on ballot even though he didn’t have the signatures, natch

posted at 7:21 pm on May 23, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

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.

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Tired of the BULLSHIT already…….
Rules for thee
But not for me

This has to STOP

NOW

Neal4007 on May 24, 2014 at 7:17 AM

We should have picked our own cotton…

Rix on May 23, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Interpol2011?

Jason58 on May 24, 2014 at 7:38 AM

rules are dumb/progressive logic

rob verdi on May 24, 2014 at 7:45 AM

And what’s to prevent a judge from disqualifying perfectly good signatures for a Republican?

The law is meaningless. It’s just a tool to be used against the rest of us.

The judge should be impeached, by the way.

JellyToast on May 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

The United States of America is no longer a Constitutionally limited Republic. It is no longer a nation of laws, not men!

We are being ‘RULED’ by people in black robes, who decide what shall be, regardless of what the laws say!

As a cost savings, let’s just do away with all of the legislatures and congress.

The nation has what it needs: JUDGES!

r27cj on May 24, 2014 at 8:01 AM

“Perhaps you weren’t braying as much when Bush took Gore to court in 2000?”

Don L, actually I was but I did so out of ignorance because I was a Liberal by contemporary standards so my objections to that SCOTUS ruling was not about undermining the Constitution, it was about being against those evil racist republicans. That was how I thought back in 2000 and I thought that way because I was not grounded in the fact of the history of Western Civilization and the scholarship it produced. Over the last 14 years I went through an evolution largely precipitated by my job as a social studies teacher. In having to teach civics, World History, American History, and economics, the gaps started to fill in and I started raising questions about the stuff I believed. In that 14 year period, I went on a journey where there were moments that had deep influence on me. The first one was September 11th which was further tempered by my experiences with white liberals whose nastiness and condescending attitudes made me rethink my blind adoption of contemporary liberalism. In the 2004 election I joined “Team Republican” and discarded contemporary liberalism forever. The Democrats were no longer an option and those “evil” and “racist” republicans weren’t so evil and racist anymore. Then came the 2008 election. I joined “Team McCain”. The way Palin was treated in the aftermath bothered me. Palin’s popularity made me aware of the so-called “republican base”. In the base I found ideas that were more consistent with the things I learned from having to teach civics. At the time I was a fan of John Locke and his theories on natural rights. Then I had to teach Economics to 12th graders. I then saw the relationship between classical liberalism and capitalism. Around that time, I heard about a dude named Ron Paul. I was sold, for a little while. Learning basic economics allowed me to understand the notion of “limited government” as a mechanism to promote the natural rights doctrines espoused by Locke but there was a problem, the Constitution. However, I didn’t see that yet for I was a Constitutionalist. Then I had to teach American History to 11th graders. I was further steeped in the principles upon which the Constitution was designed and became about those principles rather than the document that represented those principles. I fell in love with the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence but something was missing. Then, while preparing a lesson on the Articles of Confederation, I started to fill in another deficit in my understanding. My evolution was continuing. I raised questions as to why the Articles were scrapped in favor of the Constitution. That led me to the debates between the Anti-Federalists and the Federalists and this is where I am now. I was braying in 2000 but for all the wrong reasons. I like Bush but I see that our current form of government relies largely on good and wise men who value the rights natural to individual existence. Unfortunately, such men are not the norm. In the words of the Anti-Federalist “Federal Farmer”, our government opens the “avenues” to tyranny for men who are “unthinking”, “wicked”, “ambitious” and “dishonest”. Rather than to blame Obama, I blame a design of government that makes it possible for an “unthinking” and “dishonest” person, like Obama” to enact tyranny through the abuse of executive power. And he is not the only one. I could go on further but my point is to explain how I evolved to the ideas I espouse.

AlFromBayShore on May 24, 2014 at 8:03 AM

I propose one “last” amendment to fix this mess:

“The federal government is hereby dissolved, and the states shall be sovereign.”

AlFromBayShore on May 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM

People need to check their Democrat Privilege.

HikaruKitsune on May 23, 2014 at 8:08 PM

Too good of a comment to let get lost in Disney-owned Muppetland.

Fallon on May 24, 2014 at 8:48 AM

How do you spell “justice”? It’s spelled c-o-r-r-u-p-t.

VALman on May 24, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Time to impeach the judge.

HiJack on May 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM

Rules are for chumps and conservatives – at least according the liberals.

evie1949 on May 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Michigan deserves the mess they are in.

FireBlogger on May 24, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Conyers is 85…shouldn’t be on a ballot anywhere….can’t get 1000 honest signatures, should be disqualified….otherwise this is judicial endorsement of election fraud

clandestine on May 24, 2014 at 10:26 AM

After 50 years in office the guy can’t get a thousand signatures? What, now we have taken “everybody’s a winner” to politics? (Face palm)

geezerintraining on May 24, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Congress just makes laws but does not have to follow laws.

Wade on May 24, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Time to impeach the judge.

HiJack on May 24, 2014 at 10:02 AM

To quote the inimitable Jack Nicholson; “Wrong verb.”

Midas on May 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

“…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…”

Judget?

Does this judget have a name?

TimBuk3 on May 24, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Can this diktat be appealed? It’s clearly wrong.

dogsoldier on May 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Soooo, not meeting a requirement set by the agreed governance and the citizens of that State is somehow a free speech issue?!!!

Well, if the penalty for ignoring the law is getting a favorable ruling from judges then I’ll ignore the tax code, gun regulations, driving laws, environmental laws, Obamacare, the EPA, etc, etc, etc. After all I can easily make a case all of those things tie to my free speech.

Seriously- this is turning into the theater of the absurd!!!

ptcamn on May 24, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Anyone who didn’t see this coming (liberal federal judge finding a way to get Conyers on the ballot regardless of legality) isn’t paying attention.

Sacramento on May 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM

Conyer’s opponent should file a lawsuit over the illegal decision that was made by the Obama appointed judge. This has a stench that probably leads to the WH.

Amazingoly on May 24, 2014 at 12:42 PM

This is wrong!

KMC1 on May 24, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Democrat – indifference in matters of the laws; hence, tyranny.

philoise65 on May 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM

I propose one “last” amendment to fix this mess:

“The federal government is hereby dissolved, and the states shall be sovereign.”

AlFromBayShore on May 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM

I second this amendment. Either get rid of the States or get rid of the Union. I prefer the later.

wkh on May 24, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Does this judget have a name?

TimBuk3 on May 24, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Yes, as Wren pointed out, the judge’s name is Matthew Leitman.

GWB on May 24, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Judicial acknowledgement that blacks cannot be expected to meet standard norms.

Lee Jan on May 24, 2014 at 2:46 PM

This is operating as usual in Deetroit. Everyone in government there is corrupt and Conyers is so bad a congressman and the Free Press endorsed him last time saying he as the best candidate available and they were hoping for a candidate who wasn’t corrupt and married to a convicted felon to step forward and run for his seat. No one should be surprised that a Democrat would be allowed to break the rules and get away with it. The unfortunate thing is that the people in his district will reelect him.

flytier on May 24, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Again with a single unelected judge wilding out the people? Seems to me with a country this large we need to abolish all single-judge courtrooms especially at levels that people can appeal to from other courts.

Nutstuyu on May 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Stupid iPhone. Should be “overruling the people”.

Nutstuyu on May 24, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Be cynical. You’ll be accurate more often than not.

diogenes on May 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Are they going to force the poll-workers to shine a light onto his name?

The fools won’t know if he’s not on the ticket.

Schadenfreude on May 24, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Federal judge has no standing on State law. His ruling is invalid.

TfromV on May 24, 2014 at 5:23 PM

If he drops dead from old age will the judge bring him back to life, or better yet, allow his corpse to run?

fogw on May 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Is it because he is black, or is it because he is a liberal democrat, that a federal farce of a judge allows the breaking of rules?

woodhull on May 24, 2014 at 6:23 PM

To those who are surprised; you are way too naive to be involved in politics. Our government is far more corrupt than you think.

Bleed_thelizard on May 24, 2014 at 6:29 PM

I’ve never supported Conyers, but in some cases there will come a time when following the letter of the law is just plain silly. Conyers has run for the seat every 2 years for how many decades? C’mon, give the guy a break.

Dave Turson on May 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Federal judge allows Conyers on ballot even though he didn’t have the signatures, natch

“Doing right ain’t got no end.”

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 24, 2014 at 7:23 PM

Disgraceful. Shame on Michigan and shame Detroit. May you all rot in your dishonesty.

jaywemm on May 24, 2014 at 7:37 PM

“Doing right ain’t got no end.”

Good reference. The Outlaw Josey Wales.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me its rainin’…

jaywemm on May 24, 2014 at 7:39 PM

I’m not surprised. What’s a little thing like a clear LAW between friends (lib judge, lib politician)???

A Dem’s going to win his district regardless, but that doesn’t make the egregious idiocy of this any more tolerable. And what is an 85 year old doing running AGAIN for Congress? Really? At that age, you’d think you would want to spend some of your remaining time on Earth with family and friends.

IF YOU HAVE ANY FRIENDS, Conyers.

xNavigator on May 24, 2014 at 8:02 PM

I’ve never supported Conyers, but in some cases there will come a time when following the letter of the law is just plain silly. Conyers has run for the seat every 2 years for how many decades? C’mon, give the guy a break.
 
Dave Turson on May 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM

 
Did you ever hear why rock stars would contractually demand no brown M&Ms backstage?

rogerb on May 24, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I propose one “last” amendment to fix this mess:

“The federal government is hereby dissolved, and the states shall be sovereign.”

AlFromBayShore on May 24, 2014 at 8:13 AM

The country is completely Balkanized now, we might just as well have fifty separate and unique governments.

Mr. Grump on May 24, 2014 at 10:01 PM

Did you ever hear why rock stars would contractually demand no brown M&Ms backstage?

rogerb on May 24, 2014 at 9:29 PM

No, but I did read the Fox News/AP report linked by Mary Katharine Ham:

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.

Dave Turson on May 25, 2014 at 6:39 AM

So this guy never served as a sitting judge anywhere or anytime
before being appointed a Federal judge by Obama.

Sounds worthy and well-qualified for the job.

Tenwheeler on May 25, 2014 at 9:41 AM

So this guy never served as a sitting judge anywhere or anytime before being appointed a Federal judge by Obama. Sounds worthy and well-qualified for the job.

Tenwheeler on May 25, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Yeah, the GOP senators were just sleepwalking the day they joined the Dems and confirmed Judge Leitman in a unanimous 98-0 vote.

Dave Turson on May 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM

It’s not like the right has a shot at this seat. Whomever wins the dem primary will win in the general. Conyers or the younger clone? Keeping the old, corrupt, demented, fool will probably be much more entertaining. After all, Detroit deserves this idiot.

Quaere Verum on May 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM

If he drops dead from old age will the judge bring him back to life, or better yet, allow his corpse to run?

fogw on May 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM
The usual process for dead Democrats is that the wife is allowed to take his place – remember the widow Carnahan?

Is Conyer’s wife out of prison yet? That might be an impediment.

I agree with the judge, it is unreasonable to expect Conyers to fill out paperwork and discriminatory for his voters to have to provide ID /sarc

virgo on May 25, 2014 at 12:12 PM

It’s not like the right has a shot at this seat. Whomever wins the dem primary will win in the general. Conyers or the younger clone? Keeping the old, corrupt, demented, fool will probably be much more entertaining. After all, Detroit deserves this idiot.

Quaere Verum on May 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM

It’s the Niemollor principle at work. Once they do it here, they get the license to do it everywhere. Just look at NJ, circa 2002.

ebrown2 on May 25, 2014 at 12:15 PM

If he drops dead from old age will the judge bring him back to life, or better yet, allow his corpse to run?

fogw on May 24, 2014 at 5:37 PM
The usual process for dead Democrats is that the wife is allowed to take his place – remember the widow Carnahan?

Is Conyer’s wife out of prison yet? That might be an impediment.

virgo on May 25, 2014 at 12:21 PM

It’s not like the right has a shot at this seat. Whomever wins the dem primary will win in the general. Conyers or the younger clone? Keeping the old, corrupt, demented, fool will probably be much more entertaining. After all, Detroit deserves this idiot.

Quaere Verum on May 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM

That’s the spirit! Don’t waste time whining about things you cannot change. This is a representative democracy — live and let live.

Dave Turson on May 25, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Activist federal judges…first with homosexuality now deciding what is legal when running…

sorrowen on May 25, 2014 at 1:20 PM

I’ve never supported Conyers, but in some cases there will come a time when following the letter of the law is just plain silly. Conyers has run for the seat every 2 years for how many decades? C’mon, give the guy a break.
 
Dave Turson on May 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM

Did you ever hear why rock stars would contractually demand no brown M&Ms backstage?
 
rogerb on May 24, 2014 at 9:29 PM

No, but I did read the Fox News/AP report linked by Mary Katharine Ham:

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.

 
Dave Turson on May 25, 2014 at 6:39 AM

 
That’s nice.
 
Rock stars routinely bury “no brown M&Ms” or something similar in their contracts so they know the moment they enter their dressing room whether the really important stuff like weight, power requirements, and stage access/dimensions required to safely present their enormous shows are more likely to have been read and adhered to.
 
I don’t want a man who has demonstrated he can’t read and abide by the law (and a law that others apparently could read and abide by) in charge of writing laws that affect my family.

rogerb on May 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

I don’t want a man who has demonstrated he can’t read and abide by the law (and a law that others apparently could read and abide by) in charge of writing laws that affect my family.
rogerb on May 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Send some cash to Michigan if you want to really affect the congressional election outcomes here. Bottom line: You need to accept the fact that there are some things you will not have access to without undertaking much more web research. The judge did not rule on Conyers’ reading ability. The judge appears to have placed the issue on the “circulators” understanding of the law. They acted in good faith. Just relax, Conyers even reads Playboy — and not just for the pictures.

Dave Turson on May 25, 2014 at 2:23 PM

…but in some cases there will come a time when following the letter of the law is just plain silly. Conyers has run for the seat every 2 years for how many decades? C’mon, give the guy a break.
 
Dave Turson on May 24, 2014 at 7:11 PM

 
Rock stars routinely bury “no brown M&Ms” or something similar in their contracts so they know the moment they enter their dressing room whether the really important stuff like weight, power requirements, and stage access/dimensions required to safely present their enormous shows are more likely to have been read and adhered to.
 
I don’t want a man who has demonstrated he can’t read and abide by the law (and a law that others apparently could read and abide by) in charge of writing laws that affect my family.
 
rogerb on May 25, 2014 at 1:29 PM

 
Send some cash to Michigan if you want to really affect the congressional election outcomes here. Bottom line: You need to accept the fact that there are some things you will not have access to without undertaking much more web research. The judge did not rule on Conyers’ reading ability. The judge appears to have placed the issue on the “circulators” understanding of the law. They acted in good faith. Just relax, Conyers even reads Playboy — and not just for the pictures.
 
Dave Turson on May 25, 2014 at 2:23 PM

 
+1.
 
Clearly a lack of relaxation is the problem.

rogerb on May 25, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Never presume just because they are the rules, that democrats won’t get exactly who they want on a ballot AFTER they find out who you are running.

Fleuries on May 25, 2014 at 11:02 PM

Unbelievable.

Is there a Democrat who ever has to follow the laws the rest of us has to follow?

petunia on May 26, 2014 at 2:20 AM

It’s not like the right has a shot at this seat. Whomever wins the dem primary will win in the general. Conyers or the younger clone? Keeping the old, corrupt, demented, fool will probably be much more entertaining. After all, Detroit deserves this idiot.

Quaere Verum on May 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM

At least there’s that.

But this whole country is so corrupt. This is just a symptom.

petunia on May 26, 2014 at 2:23 AM

2nd try. Please answer.

blink on May 26, 2014 at 1:57 AM

Your list deals with life and death issues. I think you will survive if Conyers takes his seat — a seat he had held for 50 years.

Dave Turson on May 26, 2014 at 8:31 AM

I gave a little bit to a rabid nitpicker named Blink and I expected nothing less than what he returned — dream on and enjoy yourself.

Dave Turson on May 26, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Hey, doesn’t this mean I can run in that district, or any other election I feel like in Michigan?

I mean, I don’t live in the state, never have. May have set foot in the airport while changing planes once or twice….or not….

At this point, what difference does it make? If this one particular law is racist and unconstitutional, all of them are, right???

Also I’m not black or a democrat. Those are probably the reasons my idea won’t work though.

runawayyyy on May 27, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Remember Detroit and Chicago are Gimmedat Country.
Laws are for non-Gimmedat’s.
Gimmedat’s pass laws that others must follow.
Gimmedat’s have a list of Federal Judges who will twist the written laws so that they don’t apply to THEM.

This was predictable from the day it was news.
It will have a slight effect on the people of this district.
Being both a mental midget and a representative in the minority in the House macht nichs (matters not).
But for the voters in this district it is way past time they WAKE THE HELL UP!

Missilengr on May 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

The United States is a relatively new country, so its pockets of poverty will shift about. Gentrification will continue, as the elite strike where the iron is hot. In past centuries, the elites pushed for the lower classes to have the “correct” religion, but this is no longer possible. The haves now bash the have-nots as the new sport.

Dave Turson on May 27, 2014 at 7:15 PM

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