Federal Judge to Hear Ballot Access Case

Knoxville attorney Herb Moncier has a hearing Jan. 30 before U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan on his suit to get on the ballot this year for an appeals court position. Moncier has been denied a petition to get on the ballot because appeals court justices are presently appointed by the governor.

Moncier is asking Varlan to order the election commission to allow him to get on the ballot and to notify election commissions across the state to allow candidates to run for election. Deputy Tennessee Attorney General Jane Kleinfelter will represent the state election commissioner's office in opposition.

Moncier argues that the U.S. Supreme Court has held that there should be no undue burden on those seeking access to the ballot and Moncier said having to get the governor to appoint you is an undue burden.

Moncier is also pursing the matter in state court and has a hearing Jan. 24th before Circuit Court Judge Harold Wimberly. A special Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of appointed judges seven months ago but has yet to issue a ruling. Moncier argues that campaign season is underway for elected offices in 2014 and thus time is of the essence. He asks that he get a ruling now on his case rather than wait for the special Supreme Court court to rule. Moncier is not involved in the case before the special state Supreme Court; that is a case brought by John Jay Hooker.