Alaska Update: Joe Miller Hires Dirty Fighter Floyd Brown, Judge Quits Because He Doesn't Like Miller
Joe Miller's move to block the votes of Alaskans is stumbling, so he's dusting off the big guns from the Republican arsenal. First off, Miller's trying to get write-in votes misspelling opponent Lisa Murkowski's name tossed out, but this week, the federal judge presiding over the case recused himself for his “negative opinion” of Miller. It turns out Judge John Sedwick used to be Miller's boss, and he didn't exactly leave the best impression:
U.S. District Judge John Sedwick said Miller left the court system in a lurch in 2004 when he called Sedwick at 4:20 p.m. to tell him he was quitting that day as a part-time federal magistrate judge in Fairbanks.
"The process for filling a part-time magistrate judge position is lengthy, a fact well known to Mr. Miller because he had gone through that process," Sedwick wrote in an order from his chambers. "Mr. Miller's failure to give reasonable notice of his resignation left the court with no judicial officer resident in Fairbanks, and no ability to fill the vacancy for many months. This incident caused me to form a negative opinion of Mr. Miller."
The new judge, Ralph Beistline, is another supervisor of Miller––he hired him as a state magistrate in 1998. But even if it seems like everyone in Alaska knows each other at this point, the chances of Miller's suit prevailing are looking slim––so slim, he's hired Floyd “Willie Horton ad” Brown to toss him a hail mary pass. Brown flew to Juneau today amidst the vote count to hold a 4 PM press conference regarding "the direction of the Miller campaign heading into the weekend." No doubt that direction will be... colorful... and moneyed.
However, Murkowski's showing a strong lead with 98 percent of the write-ins, so even if the suit goes through it's likely there aren't enough challenged votes to tip the scales in Miller's favor. Further, Slate has an interesting piece up about the law behind his suit, surmising it will likely fail... though even if it does, it follows several precedents set by Bush v. Gore:
The Elections Clause of the Constitution gives each state legislature the power to choose the rules for picking members of Congress (unless Congress overrides a state's choice). This argument is just like the ones that Republicans made when they argued that the Florida Supreme Court had usurped the power of the Florida legislature when it set the rules for counting the votes in the 2000 presidential election. In Bush v. Gore, only three justices (Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas) bought that argument. If it was accepted in the Alaska case, this idea would have profound implications, because it would mean that election officials could never come up with regulations to implement the legislature's rules for congressional elections.