Mary Landrieu is facing a legal challenge to her candidacy for reelection to the US Senate that highlights the importance of researching the law before reaching any conclusions regarding the validity of a legal claim or charge. The argument being raised is that Landrieu should not qualify because she lives full-time in Washington D.C. and yet listed her parents’ address as her “residence” for qualification purposes, thus rendering her ineligible.
The problem with this argument is that the issue was dealt with before in Strong v. Breaux, 612 So. 2d 111, 112 (La. App. 1 Cir. 1992). There, the First Circuit recognized that article I of the US Constitution merely requires that a candidate for Senate be an inhabitant of the state at the time of their election, not before. That case dealt with a virtually identical challenge to John Breaux’s qualification, right down to Breaux living in DC and claiming his father’s house as his Louisiana residence.
Although Breaux is only one decision, it was well-reasoned and challenges such as this one are widely disfavored. The founders specifically chose the word “inhabitant” rather than legal terms of art like “resident” or “domiciliary” because they wanted a looser requirement that would avoid these kinds of political shenanigans. This lawsuit may help depict Landrieu as an out-of-touch Washington insider, but it lacks serious legal merit.
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