Monday, February 25, 2008

PA Gov. Rendell Order Extend Filing Deadlines Unconstitutional

On February 12, 2008, the deadline for candidates for office to file nomination petitions passed, at 5 PM.

But through an executive order, Governor Ed Rendell extended the filing date by two days, reportedly, due to the weather.



Candidates get extra shot
Deadline to file was extended. Races are in store for Congressional and statehouse seats. By TOM JOYCE Daily Record/Sunday News
Article Last Updated: 02/13/2008 05:46:32 AM EST

Gov. Ed Rendell, however, signed an executive order Tuesday evening that extends the deadline until noon Thursday. The extension applies to handing over petitions to the Department of State in Harrisburg. Rendell spokeswoman Leslie Amoros said that action has been taken at least once before, in 2000.

Rendell's executive order was likely released after 5 PM, Tuesday, Feb. 12, which we'll discuss herein may have caused an unintended consequence.

According to the news reports, Rendell's justification for granting an extension by executive order to candidates "filing" nomination petitions was that day's weather.

A Feb. 12th article Candidates file for April 22 primary; Rendell extends deadline
2/12/2008, 9:33 p.m. EST By PETER JACKSON The Associated Press
Rendell extended the filing deadline, which applies to candidates for Congress and the state Legislature as well as party offices, from 5 p.m. Tuesday until noon Thursday, citing traffic problems caused by snow and ice across the state. Rendell's executive order did not extend the deadline for candidates to collect petition signatures but did give them extra time to deliver them to Harrisburg.

Not only has that "snowstorm-constitutes-emergency" reasoning been disputed, the Governor's actions could well be unconstitutional for creating an unequal situation.

Governor Rendell's action caused two separate classes of candidates to be formed, and the order is unconstitutional for its effect on candidates.

Two separate classes of candidates:

Those who filed on Feb. 12 before the 5 PM deadline without knowledge of Rendell's Executive Order

Those who filed on Feb. 13th and Feb. 14th with knowledge of Rendell's executive order

Notice the wording in Governor Rendell's Executive Order

The extension will move the last day for filing objections to the
petitions to Feb. 21.

Notice the order does not specify any obections to nomination petitions must follow the current law and meet the deadline specified in current law - within seven days after the last day for filing such petitions.

The extension only covers the filing of petitions. It does not extend the deadline for the collection of signatures. The extension will move the last day for filing objections to the petitions to Feb. 21.

Objections to nomination petitions must be filed within seven days after the last day for filing such petitions. Section 977 of the Election Code, 25 Pa. C.S. §2937.

Keeping that in mind, Rendell's order moved the date for candidates to file nomination petitions back by two days, but the Feb. 12th filers (before Rendell's executive order) had no knowledge a new date for objections would be set as a result of an executive order at the time of their filings.

Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 candidate filers would be aware, but not Feb. 12 filers.

The executive order in its effect creates a different time frame for some candidates(without their fore-knowledge) for objections to their nomination petitions.

For candidates who filed on Feb. 12, and who expected any potential challenges to be filed within the seven days set by current law, a nine day total was in actuality afforded to objectors.

Creation of a different time frame (for those who had an expectation of a 7 day objection window from Feb. 12th) was a consequence of Governor Ed Rendell's executive order - importantly, a different time frame was created for candidates who should all be in the same class of persons.

For that reason, non-uniformity - even though objectors could file such challenges within seven days of the Feb. 19th deadline, the Rendell executive order is still - unconstitutional.

Rendell created different classes of candidates by the executive order. How can that be defended? Because he says he can?

Another reason the Rendell order granting extensions is unconstitutional:

the order impacts this election's candidates who filed on Feb. 12 differently than those who filed on Feb. 13 and on Feb. 14th.

One group of candidates is adversely affected by Governor Ed Rendell's executive order when their nomination petitions are challenged on Feb. 21st.

Those who filed nomination petitions on Feb. 12 before 5 PM and before knowledge of Governor Rendell's executive order.

That isn't exactly following the equality clause in the Pennsylvania Constitution, or the Federal United States Constitution, or the 14th Amendment.

The executive order rests on a snowstorm that didn't in reality deserve a declaration by Governor Ed Rendell of a statewide emergency or disaster anytime during the day of Feb. 12, 2008. Rendell did not issue an emergency delaration for the entire state, being concerned with the welfare of ALL residents.

The Governor didn't issue a declaration of an emergency at all for all.

He issued an executive order for a certain group of people - those who had ample time to get their nomination petitions in on Feb. 12 by 5 PM, but for whatever reason, did not.

How can that be constitutional?

The order could also be unconstitutional for altering election law during the election process. One effect of Bush v Gore in 2000 was to acknowledge the existing laws regarding elections for that election cycle could not be changed mid-election process.

In Pennsylvania, the state had an opportunity to change the date of the Primary, at a certain point in time. The state legislature didn't enact a Primary date change, or any other changes before that deadline.

The election to occur on April 22, 2008 had pre-established and published deadlines imposed per existing law.

Granted, the dates are subject to change, but everybody knows the emergency requiring such drastic changes must be of a nature that rises to a certain level.

The deadline for filing candidate nomination petitions was altered by Rendell's executive order, with the justification of an "emergency."

And the order created a 9-day and 8-day situation for some objections, not all.

The order may be unconstitutional according to federal election laws, as well.

It's doubtful anybody will actually challenge Governor Ed Rendell's executive order because most pretty much want the same opportunity for such in subsequent administrations, whether those be Democrat or Republican.

By the way, according to a news spot today, Feb. 25, Governor Ed Rendell has announced he is not seeking the Vice Presidential opening (with a Hillary Clinton administration.)

(Net the Truth Online)


Whither Weather February 19 2008 Filed under Governor, Politics - 08 by AlexC

Smartest woman in the world neglects to file full slate of Pennsylvania delegatesposted at 1:50 pm on February 19, 2008 by Allahpundit

blog net news

No comments: