POLITICS: Campaigns

Obama nominee puts top Democrat back on ballot in first ruling as federal judge

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Detroit,2014 Elections,Campaigns,Michigan

A federal judge, making his first ruling since being nominated by President Obama and confirmed to the court by the Senate, restored Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., to the ballot after state election officials ruled him ineligible.

"Many petitions were thrown out because the people who gathered signatures weren't registered voters or listed a wrong registration address," the Associated Press explained. "That put Conyers more than 400 short of the 1,000 needed to run for re-election." When Conyers failed to make the ballot, his lawyers argued that the signature requirement was unconstitutional, according to AP.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman decided to count the ineligible signatures because the people who collected them (who were ineligible to gather the signatures because they are not registered voters) thought they were in compliance with the law.

"There is evidence that their failure to comply with the Registration Statute was the result of good faith mistakes," the Daily Mail quotes Leitman as writing, "and that they believed they were in compliance with the statute."

The ruling was Leitman's first since Obama put him on the bench, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Conyers spox pointed out to me that ballot decision was judge's first on fed bench," reporter Mike Memoli tweeted. "Confirmed by Senate in March."

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