August 7, 2006

US justice won’t block ruling on DeLay on ballot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia refused on Monday to put on hold a ruling that Tom
DeLay, the indicted former House of Representatives Republican
leader, must appear on the November congressional ballot.

Texas Republican Party chairwoman Tina Benkiser had
requested an emergency stay of the ruling by a U.S. appeals
court until Republicans can formally ask the Supreme Court to
review the case.

But Scalia rejected the request, acting just a couple of
hours after it was received.

The appeals court ruled last week that the state Republican
Party could not replace DeLay, who said he would not seek
re-election and resigned from Congress in June after polls
showed he might lose his suburban Houston district to a

After resigning, DeLay moved to Virginia so the Texas
Republican Party chairwoman could declare him ineligible under
state election law. But both a federal judge and the appeals
court ruled that DeLay must be on the ballot.

Republicans have said the Democrats want to keep DeLay on
the ballot to use his legal troubles in Texas over campaign
fund-raising and links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to
improve Democratic chances in the November election.

Democrats said DeLay should have stepped down before
winning the Republican primary in March.

The request for a stay was filed with Scalia because he
handles appeals from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
which issued last week's ruling siding with the Democrats.

(Additional reporting by Erwin Seba)