Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blanco Out; Breaux... Out too?

Several sources report that Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has decided not to lose the Governor's office for the Democrats this year. Numerous reports have indicated that John Breaux is likely to get into the race, but this might well lead to a court fight as to whether he is eligible.

Louisiana law requires that gubernatorial candidates be 'citizens of' the state for at least 5 years. It seems very unlikely that Breaux qualifies:

Following Katrina, John Breaux registered to vote in Maryland. He thereby ceased being a "citizen" of Louisiana. Accordingly, he was dropped from the voting rolls in Acadia Parish. Unless the state judiciary completely disregards the Louisiana Constitution, relevant statutes and case-law, he has disqualified himself from running for governor because he has not "been a citizen of" this state for at least the preceding five years.

Despite an apparent insurmountable constitutional barrier, Breaux is reportedly considering running for governor. His lawyers may think the law simply requires a "residency" in Louisiana. "Being a resident" is necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for being a "citizen." A person can have more than one residence and those can be in different states. But a person cannot be a "citizen" of more than one state, at any given time. Otherwise, those with residences in various states (namely those with more wealth) could vote in each of those states.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

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