Ti-i-i-ime Is On My Side… Yes It Is!

From Holden:

They say that time loves a hero. What does that say about Tom DeLay?

Republicans may need a quick court ruling that former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is ineligible to run for Congress if they are to have a shot at retaining his seat in November.

The former majority leader said last week that he looks forward to a ruling from an appellate court reversing the lower court decision that keeps him on the ballot. But time is of the essence.

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Lawyers familiar with DeLay’s qualifications case said it would probably end some time between the end of July and mid-August. But it is impossible to predict how a court might act, they added.

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A prolonged lawsuit probably benefits DeLay’s opponent, former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), who could move forward with his campaign while Republicans try to figure out if DeLay has to remain on the ballot.

Lampson’s campaign has $1.76 million on hand. DeLay’s has less than $1.5 million, and he reported having at least $1.35 million in outstanding legal bills in his 2006 financial disclosure report.

“We would love to have Tom DeLay back in the race. His myriad of ethical problems is a boon to our fundraising operation, and polls show Lampson can win against Delay,” said Adrienne Elrod, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), said, “We have no strategy; that is up to the state party. We will do what we do when we know the court’s decision.”

Legal scholars said the best-case scenario for DeLay is to have the court grant a stay against Sparks’s order and an expedited hearing.

Otherwise the appellate court has three options to hear the case, said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University. The court could place the case on its summary calendar and effectively dismiss it with a summary judgment, a three-judge panel could rule on the case without hearing oral arguments or the panel could decide to hear the case with oral arguments.

If a three-judge panel rules against DeLay, his lawyers could ask the full court to hear the case or appeal to the Supreme Court.