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Federal appeals court rules DeLay must remain on Texas ballot

[JURIST] Texas Republicans cannot remove former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay [JURIST news archive] from the November congressional ballot, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] ruled [PDF] Thursday. Tina Benkiser, chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party [party website] wanted to take DeLay's name off the ballot because he now lives in Virginia, but the court refused to allow DeLay's name to be removed [opinion, PDF], saying Benkiser's actions were unconstitutional. The court reasoned that anyone who lives in the state on the day of the election is eligible to run for a congressional seat according to the US Constitution. The Texas Democratic Party [party website] argued that DeLay's wife still lives in the couple's home outside Houston, making it possible that DeLay could return to their residence before election day.

The Fifth Circuit panel was considering [JURIST report] an appeal of a decision [PDF text] by US District Court Judge Sam Sparks [official profile] to keep DeLay's name on the ballot. DeLay resigned from Congress [JURIST report] earlier this year after winning a March primary for his congressional seat. He is awaiting a Texas trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges [JURIST report] for allegedly using corporate money to fund legislative campaigns. The Texas Republican Party says it will appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court. AP has more.

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