Unqualified AG Candidate Removed from DC Ballot

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals today affirmed a trial court decision removing the leading candidate for Attorney General from the ballot. The qualification statute requires that the candidate have been actively involved for 5 of the last 10 years in the practice of law, service as a judge, being a law professor at a DC law school, or “As an attorney employed in the District of Columbia by the United States or the District of Columbia.”

The court held that legislative service as a council member by a person who happens to be an attorney does not meet the last criterion.

California requires only being a member of the bar for five years. No actual experience required.

The candidate, Kenyon McDuffie, immediately filed a rehearing petition. A response is due at 5:00 pm today.

The D.C. Court of Appeals (not to be confused with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit) is the highest court of the quasi-state judicial system set up by Congress as part of the home rule package in the 1970s. It is treated like a state court for the purpose of review by the U.S. Supreme Court. See 28 U.S.C. §1257(b). Interpretation of the D.C. Code is technically a federal question within the high court’s jurisdiction, but it rarely takes such cases.