The home field advantage?
U.S. District Court judge Tom Stagg has dismissed Patti Cox’s lawsuit challenging U.S. Rep. Jim McCrery’s residency. She contends he was not a resident when he won the Nov. 7 election and should be disqualified.
Cox said she would appeal the judge’s ruling to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. But in the meantime, the House – with whom Cox filed a complaint contesting the election – could take up the matter. McCrery was expected to file his response today.
If you want to read the documents in full, click here. Otherwise, here’s the gist of what they say:
Cox makes a 15-point argument, claiming the right to the office because McCrery was not an “inhabitant” of Louisiana, as defined by the United States Constitution. She sites a couple lawsuits she believes makes her case, one of them regarding a contested election from 1823 that has been the basis of her argument from the beginning.It has to do with John Bailey, elected from Massachusetts to the 18th Congress. Bailey was a resident of Massachusetts, appointed clerk in a federal agency and moved to Washington D.C., where he lived from 1817 to 1823.
Cox quoted the House Committee on Election in her lawsuit: “Mr. Bailey had no domestic establishment or estate in Massachusetts. If the residence of Mr. Bailey here (in Washington D.C.) had been transient and not uniform; had he left a dwelling house in Massachusetts in which his family resided a part of the year; had he left there any of the insignia of a household establishment; there would be indication that his domicile in Massachusetts had not been abandoned.”
Cox believes that case supports her argument that McCrery had no physical presence in Louisiana on election day and that he sold his home in Shreveport in 2004.
McCrery’s attorneys in earlier court filings said that the Bailey example cited by Cox actually supports the congressman’s case.
In supplying the House with his response to Cox’s complaint, McCrery included an affidavit from Paul Adkins confirming that McCrery rented a room from him from September 2004 to November 2006.
“Congressman McCrery and his family left numerous items including clothes, personal items, and toiletries at our home for their use whenever he was in Shreveport,” Adkins wrote. “Congressman McCrery came to the Shreveport area and stayed at our home one to two times per month during that time with some stays being only a couple of days, and others as much as a week. On many occasions, he brought his wife and children with him.”
The affidavit goes on to say that the McCrerys received “substantial volumes of mail” – including voter registration cards and correspondence from the Louisiana State Bar Association – at the house and had a separate telephone line installed in their name.
“Shortly before the 2006 November Congressional elections, Congressman McCrery advised that he was looking for an apartment in the Shreveport area and subsequently advised us that he had rented an apartment, effective Nov. 1, 2006,” Adkins wrote.
McCrery submitted a copy of his lease at Sommerset Apartments with his response.
LSUS associate professor of political science Jeff Sadow opines on the subject in his blog raising the question of whether politics will come into play in the Democrat-controlled House.