On Wednesday March 28th, the Texas Supreme Court granted a judicial candidate’s request to be restored to the ballot.
The case is In re Rebecca Ramirez Palomo, No. 12-0208, a mandamus petition that is the first elections case of this cycle. The Court granted relief by order, with a notation that the Court’s opinion will be issued at a later time. (( Also notable is that the Court granted relief based solely on the 15-page mandamus petition itself rather than following its practice (in less time-sensitive cases) of requesting full briefing on the merits. ))
The Interim Webb County Democratic Party Chair, Sylvia G. Palumbo, is directed to take all actions necessary under, or required by, the Texas Election Code to certify Rebecca Ramirez Palomo as a candidate for the 341st Judicial District Court and to place her name on the ballot for that office.
The Texas Constitution requires that a judicial candidate for the district court “has been a practicing lawyer or a Judge of a Court in this State, or both combined, for four (4) years next preceding his election.” Tex. Const. art. V, §7. Based on the parties’ briefs (candidate: PDF (13 MB); party official: PDF (15 MB) ), it looks like the main substantive dispute was whether the candidate had continuously practiced law for the previous four years (as required for district court judges). The main procedural dispute was whether the local party official had authority to strike a name from the ballot without stronger evidence.
We’ll find out what arguments persuaded the Court when it issues its opinion.