U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. said Friday that he agreed the residency requirement is unconstitutional and felt they would prevail on that question if they pursued their case. He also said he believed an injunction the candidates sought to gain access to the ballot was in the public interest. However, he said, they should have gone to court back when it would have done them some good. “Had the plaintiffs filed a timely suit, the court would likely have granted preliminary relief,” said Gibney.
“In essence, they played the game, lost, and then complained that the rules were unfair,” Gibney said. Therefore, he said, he could not grant a preliminary injunction ordering them on the ballot. The state is entitled to require 10,000 signatures as a means of keeping “fringe candidates and crackpots” off the ballot, said the judge. “I appreciate the seriousness of a federal court intervening in a state’s electoral process,” Gibney added. “No one can seriously argue that the rule is unduly burdensome,” he said.
Following the hearing, Joseph Michael Nixon, a lawyer for Perry, said he would have to consult with his client on whether or not to appeal.