Kangaroo Court must end

The ongoing saga to determine just who will appear on the June 4th primary ballot steps into the federal court system May 14th.

As reported over the past several weeks, the Alabama Republican Party is hard at work to keep former state Rep. Steve Flowers off the ballot.

This legal wrestling match began last month when a Republican Party committee, by a 10-8 vote, ruled that Flowers did not meet residency requirements to be a candidate in District 14.

District 14 includes part of Shelby County which is why the issue deserves the notice of local citizens.

There is no question whether or not a candidate should reside in the district he or she represents. Doing so provides easy access by the citizens of that district and allows the candidate to keep close watch on local needs and concerns.

The Republican committee which ruled against Flowers was serving as a watchdog for the residents of District 14. For this they should be commended.

However, Alabama state law dictates that such ballot changes must be made within a 50-day deadline before an election.

The Republican committee ruled on Flowers’ candidacy after the deadline had past. The water is muddied by the fact that this state law has been ignored since 1962, allowing political parties to make ballot changes well after the 50-day deadline.

And there the battle lines have been drawn:

Flowers seeking to have the letter of the law followed and the Alabama Republican Party hoping to follow general practices. Each side plans to fight, at least up to the May 14th ruling, and both have every reason to do so.

Circuit Judge Charles Price ruled two weeks ago to prevent the Republican Party from removing Flowers’ name from the ballot based on the fact that the GOP had failed to make the ballot change before the deadline set by Alabama state law.

The Alabama Supreme Court upheld Price’s ruling by a 5-3 vote.

Now the next step is the federal court system.

Alabama law states that littering is illegal, but common practice by too many of us is to toss our trash on roadsides across the state. The general practice of littering does not change state law, nor should the general practice of ignoring ballot change deadlines.

Alabama law is clear on this point.

The debacle witnessed during last year’s Presidential election in the state of Florida does not deserve repeating.

Here’s hoping that all concerned will take their lumps and allow the ballot to move forward as ruled by Judge Price and the Alabama Supreme Court.

The citizens of District 14 deserve no less