If a state law circumvents the Constitution, what law should I be charging the state official with?

I found out the my state no longer requires Presidential candidates to file a certificate of candidacy, where they must sign and swear under oath and uner threat of perjury that they are qualified to hold that office. They now certify a candidate ONLY by being recognized in the media and totally disregard state law and the Constitution that a Presidential candidate must be a natural born citizen. They have clearly broken their oath to the constitution and I would like to know what charges this falls under. Thank You, any help is appreciated.

Baltimore, MD -

Attorney Answers (2)

Thomas C Valkenet

Thomas C Valkenet

Litigation Lawyer - Baltimore, MD
Answered

You don't get to "charge" anyone. A public official can be sued to perform their job, and in limited situations, you may sue the employer for that official's neglect (subject to various tort claims acts).

Your recourse is through the legislature, and your political party.

There are several very good constitutional lawyers in town. Perhaps you'd like to invest in a few hours of their time, and they will gladly teach you how all the issues in your question fit together. The law schools may also have a course on constitutional law that you could audit.

James S. Lawrence

James S. Lawrence

Constitutional Law Attorney - Southfield, MI
Answered

Only prosecutors can charge people with crimes. Normally, if you feel an election law is unconstitutional, you would bring a lawsuit seeking to enjoin the unconstitutional practices. If you win, you will get an injunction requiring the state officials to follow the court ruling. However, I am not aware of any section of the constitution requiring any sort of oath by a candidate for office. After being elected, the winner takes an oath of office, not that he is qualified, but that he will faithfully discharge the duties of his office. You can read the entire constitution at http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/constitution/ then identify the provision you believe is being violated.

If you feel that a candidate is unqualified, you can file suit in federal court seeking to have a judicial ruling that the candidate is not to be allowed on the ballot. Such a lawsuit will lose in virtually every case, because of the inability of the complainer to prove that the candidate is unqualified, but you can always try anyway.

Contact me at 248-399-6930 for a free consultation. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed... more

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