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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rick Orloski: Elections Are For Voters, Not Judges

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Allentown lawyer Rick Orloski has waged campaigns for Congress, state Attorney General, state treasurer and state senate. Having heard him debate State Senator Pat Browne four years ago, I really have to wonder why he's never won. He is personable, downright funny and really cares about his community.

Dragged into a challenge against Pat Browne late this year, he is willing to give voters a choice, something we should have in a democracy.

Pat Browne is challenging Orloski's signatures, hoping to avoid the cost of an election this Fall. But is it really fair to leave voters with no choice at all?

Orloski copied me on an email he sent to Senator Browne this weekend, and I am sharing it with the rest of you.

Dear Pat--

Elections are for voters, not judges

As you are aware, I am the only Democrat currently on the ballot for the State Senate from the 16 district. Democracy is messy. You do not own the State Senate seat. The electorate gave it to you for four years. The four year term is almost up. Elections make you accountable to the people. The people should determine the State Senator from the 16th district by their ballot for the 2011-2014 term. It's antithetical to democracy for judges to be issuing Orders prohibiting voters from having their say. I am calling upon you to direct Donald Hunsicker [2409 S 19th St, Allentown]and Mr and Mrs. Joseph D'Annibale [202 S Jane St, Allentown] to withdraw their ballot challenges to my Nominating Petitions.

It's a matter of ethics

As I am sure you also know, it is illegal for you as a Republican to file a Nomination Challenge to a Democrat. Given that reality, the ethical question is whether or not you can do indirectly what you cannot do directly. My investigation reveals that the three Objectors are not the real party in interest in the Nomination Challenges. They simply do not have the resources to finance the exhaustive legal challenge being waged. If you cannot file a nomination challenge directly, can you do it indirectly and arrange for straw parties to do it for you? The answer seems obvious. Again, I call upon you to do the ethical thing and direct the straw parties to withdraw the Nomination challenge.

Fatal defect in your challenge

By now, I am sure you heard about the conference call with the Commonwealth Court Judge, where Attorney Tim Brennan of Croslis and Brennan was representing me. There is a major defect in the challenge. Your Objectors never served the Secretary of the Commonwealth with the challenge, creating a jurisdictional defect mandating the dismissal of the challenge. Given this jurisdictional defect, I am again asking you to do the ethical thing and direct your Objectors to withdraw the challenge.

The Merits of the Challenge

The Petition filed by your Objectors concedes that I have 829 signatures. Your Objectors attached eight exhibits as follows:

Exhibit B 30 signatures;
Exhibit C 107 signatures;
Exhibit D 66 signatures;
Exhibit F 16 signatures;
Exhibit G 30 signatures;
Exhibit H 4 signatures; and
Exhibit I 42 signatures.

TOTAL: 295.

Even assuming arguendo, that you won all of the challenges in your exhibits, I would still have 534 registered Democratic voters asking the Secretary of the Commonwealth to put me on the ballot. Is it ethical for you to ask the Court to give you a free ride in an election when you know that, under your Objector's Petition, 534 registered Democrats want me on the ballot? Again, I ask you to do the ethical thing and direct your Objectors to withdraw the challenge.

Your Exhibits B thru I are wrong... at best, only 159 bad signatures

Counsel for the Objectors and I spent six hours in the Lehigh County Election Bureau going over the Objector's Exhibits. Kindly check with him. He conceded numerous errors in the Exhibits. By my count, you have not found 295 bad signatures. At best, you have 155 and some of those are arguable. 165 MINUS 829 = 665. Is it ethical for you to ask the Court of give you a free ride in an election where 665 registered Democrats want me on the ballot?

Read Buckley vs, Valeo, 424 U.S. 1

In order to get out of the box that the Objector's Exhibits put you in, the Objectors allege certain facts to try to strike valid signatures. Fortunately for democratic theory, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Buckley that such objections are unconstitutional under the First and Fourteen Amendments.

In this country, voters, not judges, decide elections.

Time to do the right thing ... and let the voters decide

As Winston Churchill observed, democracy is messy. It's time for you to accept the fact that State Senators are elected by voters, not anointed by judges. Do the right thing. Tell your Objectors to withdraw their challenges. The lawyer failed to serve the Secretary of the Commonwealth on time. The challenge is dead. Your Petition agrees that I have 500+ signatures. The challenge is dead. The First and Fourteenth Amendments support the inclusion of candidates on the ballot. Do you really want me filing a Complaint in Federal Court to enjoin this unconstitutional challenge. Do the right thing.

Democratically yours,

Richard J. Orloski

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don't be a hypocrite Ohare. You attacked possible candidates against your buddy John Stoffa last year. Hell you even attacked their supporters. Hell you even attacked the results of your own preference poll that didn't go your way.

You talk a good game but you only like elections to be contested when one of your buddies isn't running.

The sad refrain continues, you are a hypocrite!

Anonymous said...

If the challenge is as flawed as Orloski claims it is, why is he asking Browne to withdraw it? I would think Orloski could win it in court.

However, if he doesn't have enough signatures, tough break.

His statement seems like more of a political move than a real request.

Anonymous said...

You wonder why Rick Orloski hasn't ever won - I think its a matter of money in most cases. He doesn't raise a ton of it and my impression is that his campaigns are much more laid back than most. Although I would love to see Orloski finally win one of his races (I would vote for him if I lived in that district), my observation is that he runs more because he cares about the principle of accountability via elections than he does about actually getting the job.

C said...

This is going to be a tough race. Both candidates are equally likeable. Pat Brown has done good things for this region and has a good track record. Orloski seems genuine. Either way this race will be a win for the region.

Anonymous said...

Orloski should tell it to Captain Amazing. He had all his competitors removed when he ran for State Senate by challenging signatures.

OTOH, maybe candidates should just be able to fill out nomination papers themselves by writing down random names, or better yet, a one thousand word essay about what they did for summer vacation.

Bernie O'Hare said...

He couldn't have done that good a job of removing opponents because he lost.

I think his points are well made. Unless the evidence is very clear, candidates should avoid challenging one another this way. Let the voters decide.

Anonymous said...

I can't help but visualize a sneaker-clad Rick racing an ambulance in a grainy news reel film like the one where Bob Feller throws a baseball faster than a speeding motorcycle.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

I've always felt that while Orloski is likeable, his campaigns are more of a vehicle to promote his law practice than to actually win an election.

Anonymous said...

The Valley may be "Blue" but Rick is too far left even for here.

He's a nice guy and a known quantity, people have just decided that he's not right for the job.

Anonymous said...

I'm still betting that he loses....AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

He is a bum,I hope he looses