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U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses...

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses District 79 election contest against House of Representatives

By: Sarah Ulmer - May 14, 2018

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the Bo Eaton election contest against the House of Representatives.

They have ordered the District Judge Carlton to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The court officially ruled that the case (Keyes v. Gunn) did not prove whether or not the House acted properly in seating Mark tulles instead of Bo Eaton. However, they did recognize that the federal courts have no jurisdiction to decide on election contests for presidential electors, members of Congress, or members of state legislature.

Rep. Mark Baker, who was appointed as Chairman of the Special Committee by Speaker Gunn had this to say on the decision:

“On May 11th, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal challenging the action of the Mississippi House of Representatives regarding the election contest for the state legislative seat for District 79, wherein the Mississippi House of Representatives determined Mark Tullos to be the winner over Bo Eaton. In reversing the district court, the Fifth Circuit confirmed that federal courts may not hear an election contest involving the office of a member of the state legislature.  As chairman of the special committee appointed by Speaker Gunn to hear the contest and to recommend action to the full body, it was my duty to insure that the contestants received a full and fair hearing on the record and to insure that the recommendation of the special committee was based on the facts presented and the law.  Based on these precepts, after a comprehensive hearing on the matter, the special committee voted to recommend that Mark Tullos be the declared the winner and that he be seated as the representative for District 79, which recommendation was adopted by the members of the Mississippi House of Representatives.  I respect greatly Messrs. Eaton and  Tullos for the professionalism they exhibited throughout the process and hold in the highest regard the members of the special committee who accepted their responsibility and fulfilled their duty in a fair and impartial manner.”

Under Constitution and law, the legislative body has the final say on matters of state elections meaning the Mississippi House of Representatives, not Federal courts, have the last say on these matters.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state.