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Pennsylvania high court holds Nader liable for ballot lawsuit costs

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that former presidential candidate Ralph Nader [CNN backgrounder; personal website] and his running mate Peter Miguel Camejo [PVS profile] must pay more than $80,000 in expenses for a lawsuit challenging Nader's petition drive and nominating papers to appear on the 2004 Pennsylvania ballot. A group of voters filed a lawsuit challenging the documents, and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court found "fraud and deception" and widespread irregularities in the Nader petition drive, disqualifying [JURIST report] more than 2/3 of the 51,000 signatures necessary to be placed on the ballot. The Commonwealth Court described the signatures [opinion, PDF] as "the most deceitful and fraudulent exercise ever perpetrated upon this court."

The lower court required Nader and Camejo to pay expenses associated with the lawsuit, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld that decision Wednesday, saying that the decision was appropriate in light of the "magnitude of the fraud and deception implicated in [their] signature-gathering efforts." Basil C. Culyba, the attorney for Nader and Camejo, disagreed with the decision saying it forced third party candidates to decide "whether or not he wants to bet his family home in an effort to have his political views heard." AP has more. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has local coverage.

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