A judge sharply questioned lawyers Wednesday in a dispute over whether U.S. Rep. John Conyers of Detroit gets on the ballot for a chance to extend one of the longest careers in Congress. The Democrat, first elected in 1964, has been scratched from the August primary because of problems with people who collected signatures for his nominating petitions, a standard task for any candidate. Some of those people weren’t registered voters or put a wrong registration address on the petitions. It spoils those petitions, under Michigan law, and means Conyers lacks 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot.
Attorneys for Conyers and petition circulators asked U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman to throw out the state law, claiming the rules to collect signatures violate the First Amendment. They noted that an appeals court in 2008 struck down a similar Ohio law that carried registration and residency requirements.
But Leitman said he was having trouble understanding how Conyers’ circulators were harmed when they truly believed they were following the Michigan law. “I see this as an exceptionally difficult case,” said Leitman, who has been a judge for two months.
Conyers, 85, has an office in the courthouse but didn’t attend the hearing.
Full Article: Lawyers for Conyers Argue to Get Back on Ballot – ABC News.