On May 10, a 3-judge panel of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals refused to block Pennsylvania Democrats from seizing $56,928 from Ralph Nader’s bank accounts located in Washington, D.C. Back in 2004, Nader’s petition had been held to lack sufficient valid signatures. Under Pennsylvania’s unique system for checking signatures on petitions, when a petition is found not to have enough valid signatures, court costs are levied against the candidate. Here is the decision, Nader v Serody, 09-cv-906.
Later evidence revealed that Pennsylvania Democrats used state employees, on state time, for their challenge. They also used state computers for the work of readying the challenge. Some Pennsylvania legislative employees, and even one legislator, were later sent to prison for this. The Pennsylvania state courts had ordered Nader to pay costs before any of this had become known. But the D.C. Court of Appeals said if there is any injustice, the injustice lies in the Pennsylvania state courts, and the federal system requires D.C. bank officials to enforce orders of courts from outside the District in such cases.
Ironically, the D.C. Court of Appeals took so long to decide this case, that even more revelations about the 2004 Pennsylvania process came out after the hearing in D.C. The D.C. hearing was on April 21, 2010, and the judges took over two years to decide the case.