In re LaRhonda Torry, No. 08-0026.

This election-related mandamus petition was filed in the Texas Supreme Court on Friday by former Representative Ron Wilson. In today’s Houston Chronicle, Clay Robison reports that:

Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, drew a last-minute challenger, LaRhonda Torry, in the Democratic primary, but a few days later Harris County Democratic Chairman Gerry Birnberg rejected Torry’s application. Birnberg said he couldn’t accept her filing fee because she had not yet designated a campaign treasurer.

The Texas Secretary of State’s Office disagreed with Birnberg but couldn’t order the party to put Torry on the ballot.

Torry then retained lawyer and former state Rep. Ron Wilson, who late last week filed a petition with the Texas Supreme Court seeking an order to have Torry placed on the ballot.

The Court has requested a response by 10:00 am this morning, January 14th. (( The response date in the other election-related mandamus filed last Friday (see this earlier post) was set for Friday, January 18th. That might or might not reflect the Court’s judgment about the strength of the petitions. One possibility is that — because the mandamus petition in that other case indicates that the relator was not even sure if the respondent had counsel — the Court was simply trying to ensure time for an adequate response. )) Given that the Court left several openings on its early-February calendar, it’s quite possible that the Court would decide to set this case for argument on February 6th or 7th.

[Updated evening of 1-14-2008: Late today, the Texas Supreme Court denied this petition without prejudice under Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.3(e) — in essence, instructing the parties to first seek relief from the intermediate court of appeals.]