For the second time, the Nevada Supreme Court has concluded an appeal designed to remove Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian's name from the ballot is moot.
With absentee ballots sent out weeks ago, early voting ending today and the general election set for Tuesday, the court reasoned the request came far too late as thousands have already cast their votes and to remove Ashjian's name would disenfranchise them.
The full court, in its unanimous opinion released late Thursday afternoon, said the attorney for appellant Tim Fasano, the U.S. Senate candidate representing the Independent American Party, never requested an expedited hearing until September, and even then only after the normal time frames for submitting court papers were observed.
"(The) appellant's unexplained delay in prosecuting this appeal militates against disrupting the election process, which is already underway," reads the dismissal.
Several conservative groups sought to challenge Ashjian's candidacy, saying he claimed the Tea Party's mantle without authorization of the loose-knit political movement. In ruling that the issue is moot, the high court did not address that or any other issue. Republican candidate Sharron Angle, a Tea Party favorite who has gained national attention, recently attempted to convince Ashjian to step aside, but he refused.
Fasano attorney Joel Hansen -- who is also the IAP's candidate for attorney general -- contended that the high court could declare Ashjian "unqualified to take office as United States Senator from Nevada" even if ballots were printed and some already cast.
The high court rejected that argument because the issue was never brought up at the lower court hearing heard by Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell, who initially denied the request to keep Ashjian's name off the ballot .
The high court noted Hansen filed the appeal in May, but never requested the matter to be expedited until Sept. 19.
Ashjian filed a reply Sept. 13. On Oct. 1, according to the dismissal, Hansen advised the high court he would not file a reply to Ashjian but on Oct. 6, with Election Day less than a month away, Hansen in court papers said he would file a reply after all.
The state Supreme Court also noted it would not have jurisdiction over the matter if Ashjian should win election. As a U.S. senator, the question of his unsuitability for office would fall under the purview of the federal government.
Contact Doug McMurdo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5512 or read more courts coverage at lvlegalnews.com.