On January 9, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held a trial on whether the Green Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006 should be required to pay almost $89,668. This amount represents court costs, witness fees, and attorneys’ fees, for the process that removed Romanelli from the November 2006 ballot.
The head of the Pennsylvania Elections Department was on the stand, and admitted that Philadelphia County, among others, failed to record any write-ins for Romanelli or anyone else.
Romanelli’s attorney made arguments that the whole idea that a candidate can be forced to pay, violates the U.S. Supreme Court filing fee precedents, but the judge refused to hear the constitutional arguments. However, if an appeal is necessary, the constitutional arguments can be raised again. It was important that they were introduced at the trial level. One of the weaknesses of Ralph Nader’s parallel case on this same issue (which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear on January 8, 2007) was that the constitutional issues hadn’t been raised in the courts below.