Tom Parker Loses Appeal

The ballot remains the same in the GOP primary for Supreme Court Justice, Place 3.

Supreme Court Justice and candidate Tom Parker had sued to get GOP challenger Eric Johnston taken off the ballot, citing two disclosure statements that Parker maintained were not timely filed which, Parker also maintained, should have barred Johnston’s name being certified for the ballot. At the trial level, the judge ruled in Johnston’s favor, holding that the disclosures were timely. Parker appealed to the high court.

The specially-seated Supreme Court* (all of Parker’s colleague justices recused) unanimously sided with Johnston but didn’t touch the matter of timely or untimely disclosure statements.  Instead, they looked to a motion Johnston made at the trial level which was never ruled on below: that the trial court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the suit in the first place.

From its opinion released today (.pdf):

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Judge: Johnston Stays on Ballot

It will remain a three-way race in the Republican primary for Supreme Court, Place 3.

Incumbent Tom Parker sued to remove challenger Eric Johnston from the ballot April 30 but Montgomery County Circuit Judge William Shashy denied his request, issuing his order (.pdf) this afternoon.

Parker had asserted that two of Johnston’s disclosure statements were filed one day late, the penalty for which Parker maintained was removal from the ballot. Shashy disagreed:

…the unreasonable and hyper-technical interpretation of the “simultaneous” filing language in the Ethics Act urged by Petitioners would unreasonably jeopardize the candidacy of hundreds of other candidates statewide and would be at odds with the overriding purpose of the Ethics Act to provide transparency in the election process…

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The Ballot of Tom Parker

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker not only is running for re-election (we weren’t so sure in late March, but then he did qualify on time), he wants a fellow Republican kicked off the primary ballot. And now.

Parker sued challenger Eric Johnston (amongst others) in Montgomery County Circuit Court Friday, alleging Johnston filed ethics and financial disclosures too long after qualifying as a candidate for his name to be certified for the primary ballot. From my read, the suit might just come down to the definition of “day.”

Here is a copy of the suit for your own grubby little hands (.pdf).

The style of Parker’s suit takes nearly seven pages, as there are 138 respondents including every probate judge and circuit clerk in the state of Alabama as well as Secretary of State Beth Chapman.  Also, the title of the action is pretty broad: “PETITION FOR WRIT OF PROHIBITION, MANDAMUS CERTIORARI, OR OTHER APPROPRIATE EXTRAORDINARY RELIEF.”  Those options get ever broader when we skip to the end, under Reasons for Granting the Writ (which also provides my segue for getting into the substance of all this):

Petitioners submit that their petition for writ of prohibition, mandamus, certiorari, or other appropriate extraordinary relief (including declaratory and injunctive relief) is due to be granted for the reason that Respondent Alan Eric Johnston failed to file (1) his Appointment of Principal Campaign Committee form as required by the Fair Campaign Practice Act, and (2) his completed Statement of Economic Interests as required by Alabama Ethics law.

Ok.  How?  According to the suit, here’s the relevant time line:

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