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Judge rules against Kucinich on Democrat's loyalty oath

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.statesman.com/news/content/region/legislature/stories/01/12/0112kucinich.html Judge rules against Kucinich on Democrat s loyalty oath Presidential
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2008
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      Judge rules against Kucinich on Democrat's loyalty
      Presidential candidate left off primary ballot may
      By W. Gardner Selby
      Saturday, January 12, 2008

      U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on Friday rejected
      presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich's challenge to
      a loyalty oath required of presidential candidates by
      the Texas Democratic Party.

      Barring a successful appeal, Yeakel's ruling means
      Kucinich's name will not be on the party's March 4
      primary ballot.

      Don McTigue, an Ohio lawyer for Kucinich, said he
      would confer with the Ohio congressman on whether to
      appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

      Kucinich and musician Willie Nelson, a supporter,
      filed a lawsuit last week accusing the party of
      violating the candidate's constitutional rights by not
      putting him on the ballot.

      Kucinich had attempted to file as a candidate without
      agreeing entirely to a loyalty pledge; he scratched
      out a portion stating that he would support the
      party's nominee for president, whoever it is. The
      party said the pledge could not be altered and that
      Kucinich's filing could not be accepted.

      Yeakel noted that candidates are free to interpret the
      oath pretty much as they please and said he did not
      find it "to be a burden of such an extent that it
      mandates striking down the oath."

      He said that the oath "may be inartfully worded, may
      be, in fact, an anachronism," but it is "legally

      Yeakel also noted that Kucinich accepted the Texas
      oath when he ran for president in 2004. Kucinich drew
      nearly 2 percent of the vote in the 2004 Texas
      primary, placing seventh in the field.

      McTigue said Kucinich's concern that a nominee would
      employ war as an instrument of foreign policy has
      escalated since 2004. He noted that GOP presidential
      candidates don't have to take a similar oath in Texas
      and argued that Democrats had failed to explain why
      the oath is required for presidential aspirants and
      not candidates for other offices.

      Gary Yokie of Houston, Kucinich's Texas campaign
      coordinator, said that if Kucinich doesn't get on the
      primary ballot, his supporters will have options. For
      instance, they could flock to another candidate, such
      as Cynthia McKinney, a former Democratic U.S. House
      member seeking the Green Party's nomination.

      Boyd Richie, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party,
      said the oath is required by rules adopted by
      delegates to the party's state convention.

      Speaking personally, he said, "If people want to have
      the benefit of running under a particular party's
      banner, they ought to be willing to support that
      party's nominee."

      wgselby@...; 445-3644
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