Two former political candidates are looking to make their New Year a bit wealthier. Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste and Anthony Brown qualified to run for office in New Orleans last year. However, both men were disqualified because they failed to file income tax returns.
Now Batiste and Brown are suing the state and various New Orleans officials looking to be compensated for being removed from the ballot. Both men claim that disqualifying them is a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Two candidates whose names were pulled from October’s ballot for citywide elections in New Orleans are suing state officials and local judges in federal court claiming that their civil rights were violated.
Belden “Noonie Man” Batiste qualified for a City Council race, and Anthony Brown was seeking the Orleans Parish assessor’s seat. Their candidacies were challenged for failure to file income tax returns, although both men say they have complied with state and federal law.
They say their removal from the ballot violates the Voting Rights Act, and they’re seeking $10 million in damages. U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo will hear arguments Wednesday (Jan. 3) on motions to dismiss the case from Secretary of State Tom Schedler and Attorney General Jeff Landry.
Also named as defendants are Orleans Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal Judges Daniel Dysart, Paula Brown, Edwin Lombard, Rosemary Ledet and Chief Judge James McKay III.
The lawsuit is expected to be dismissed because there is no constitutional right to be on the ballot. The Voting Rights Act does not contain any language that would guarantee both men or anyone else for that matter a spot on the ballot for not filing tax returns.
Exit question: why are they asking for $10 million in damages? Is that $10 million the amount they were expecting to make via bribes and graft?