Thursday, October 28, 2004

It depends on what the meaning of "disabled" is

I just finished watching the Utah Supreme Court listen to oral arguments on the issue of letting Ellis Ivory on the ballot, given Nancy Workman's Doctor's note.

Based on the questions asked by the Justices and their follow-ups, it seems like they are not going to overturn the ruling that the letter was not compliant enough with the statute. The actual decsion will be either this afternoon or tomorrow at the latest.

As a fellow law student pointed out, the letter said the stress of running a [losing] campaign is such that she is "disabled [from political office]...should she continue to campaign" which he noted is conditional. If she stops campaigning, which she did by withdrawing before getting the statutorially required doctor's note, then she wouldn't be disabled. Ergo, he says, the doctor is in fact saying Workman is not disabled. And thus, the GOP is not be allowed to replace her with Ellis Ivory on the ballot.

What is Nancy's disability actually? She is disabled from winning really. In a 4 way race, she was pulling 12 percent, below the other 2 major candidates (the Democrat Peter Carroon and the Independent Merrill Cook). The statute and legislative history, don't really say what disabled is, and I wish the court had addressed this more. Is it physically disabled, in which case every handicapped candidate could drop out and be replaced at the drop of a hat? Or is it, as I think, being disabled to properly perform the duties of the office and not the ability campaign. There are plenty of candidates who suck at campaigning (like Liberman and Gephardt) who obviously could be President, albeit terrible ones in my opinion (but better than the current President).

Another law student friend of mine joked that she is ethically disabled. This might make her by my definition "disabled" but the letter didn't say that. Now's too late to go ask for another letter. Maybe we could ask the Doctor what he meant when he wrote this or that. But as the trial court said, if we can't see only one meaning from the letter, it is too ambiguous to comply with the statute.

I hope for the County Clerk's office they don't over turn it either. The poor folks pointed out they have had more ballot versions than candidates. Hopefully the court will rule quickly so they aren't up late at night working to get all the ballots read for Tuesday.

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