The only course of action that I can see if the court rules in Kurita’s favor is to remove Barnes from office immediately and allow Kurita to serve out the remainder of the term that would have been hers. No Republican filed to run in the 2008 election.First, I'll bet $20 the federal courts do not overturn the decision of a lower court to allow the Democratic Primary Board's decision to stand. However fair or unfair, the fact remains that state law, Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-17-104 to be exact, establishes that the Primary Board, comprised of the elected members of the Tennessee Democratic Executive Committee, are to be the arbiters of any nomination dispute. This was upheld in 1978 in Taylor v. TDEC which states:
Both parties could then run again in the August primary without TNDP meddling.
It has always seemed to me that once a primary election is held and paid for by the taxpayers, then the results should stand. Sure, a political party should reserve the right to select a nominee, but they should be required to announce a selection process and cancel the primary.
Court's opinion that under Tennessee Code Annotated § 2-1704, plaintiff had a statutory right to contest the nomination, but that it was the State Primary Board of the Democratic Party, not the chancery courts, which had exclusive jurisdiction to dispose of such a contest.Fact is, Tim Barnes contested the nomination, the TDEC was, by law, required to hear the complaint, and by fact of legislative construction, the board is made up of elected members and impartiality is not one of the requirements for obtaining office.
It is apparent from a reading of the seventeenth chapter of the election code that the legislative intent was that intraparty squabbles over the nominating procedures are to be considered a political matter which are to be resolved by the party itself without judicial intervention. The party machinery is much better equipped than the courts to resolve such a dispute with the speed and finality that is required to preserve the integrity of the democratic election process.
Alright, so now that we got that out of the way. If by some chance Kurita managed to land a group of "judicial activists" who decide to supplant the law with their own feelings of fairness...what should be the outcome? Well, nothing. The other fact that still remains is that despite her name not being on the ballot, Kurita still (as Hurtt points out) was able to run for the seat. By the end of the campaign, every voter could reasonably be assumed to have known she was running, and they decided to elect Tim Barnes anyway (by 15,000 votes). The notion that she should be given a seat in the legislature with no evidence that was the will of the general electorate, is utterly absurd and I'm willing to bet without precedence. There is no way for a judge to prove that, if Barnes had been deemed the loser of a nomination contest, he couldn't have won as a write-in candidate.
My hope here is that the courts do uphold the original rulings and put this waste of the court's time to rest. The place to litigate this is not in the courts, but in the legislature. If we don't like the process set forth for determining nomination contests, then the Republicans in the legislature should change the law that sets it up.