Powerful and lawless

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We take pride in America as a nation of laws, but is that really so? It’s not if the political powers-that-be don’t like the outcomes resulting from those laws.

In 2002, scandal-ridden Sen. Robert Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, abandoned his bid for re-election, and the Democrats replaced him with Frank Lautenberg. However, New Jersey law specifically and clearly prohibits the replacement of any candidate within 51 days of an election, and this switch took place 35 days before the election. Pretty clear, right? Not to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled in favor of Mr. Lautenberg, who subsequently won the election.

In 2010, the Alaskan courts decided that the law passed by the Alaska legislature stating specifically that no help could be given to a voter for a write-in candidate didn’t mean the state could not provide the voter with a list of write-in candidates. Now, the Illinois Supreme Court has decided that the state law requiring all non-incumbent candidates to have lived within the jurisdiction for one entire year prior to the election didn’t apply to a candidate who failed that test but owned rental property in the jurisdiction and still stored some personal property there.

The message is clear that the politically powerful don’t have to worry about laws - only the rest of us have to do that.


Burke, Va.

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