Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lawyers to the ...

We all know about lawyers who have repeatedly stepped in to represent the famous and infamous. The late Johnnie Cochran. Alan Dershowitz. Gloria Allred.

Politics is no different.

As certain as the leaves changing colors, the same small pool of election-law attorneys always seem to show up in November, accordion folders in hand, to defend the Pennsylvania Republican and Democratic parties.

For the GOP, that guy is Lawrence Tabas, a lanky Philadelphia attorney with a baritone voice who became the state party's general counsel two years ago. Before that, as a special counsel, he represented a successful state Superior Court candidate in 2003 during another long recount that extended into December.

"It's kind of like Groundhog Day," Tabas said, referring to the Bill Murray movie that repeats the same day over and over and over and over again. He's given $8,000 to federal candidates since 2000, and several thousand more to state candidates.

For the Democrats, it's Clifford B. Levine, a Pittsburgh attorney with longish brown hair that covers the tip of his shirt collar.

"It's because I can't adapt to a changing society," Levine deadpanned.

Levine, who has contributed at least $16,000 to federal candidates and several thousand more to state candidates, represented the Democratic Party in its bid to kick Carl Romanelli, the Green Party candidate in the 2006 Senate race, off the November ballot.

In that case, his legal team argued that some of Romanelli's petition signatures should be invalidated because they did not match the state voter registration system. (Update: This is according to Republicans and Greens, at the time; a Democratic lawyer who worked Romanelli and is assisting in Chester County says they allowed non-exact signatures to go through.)

In the Chester County races, he has made the opposite argument, saying some provisional ballots should be counted when the signatures don't exactly match existing records.


1 comment:

Adam said...

Oh come on. There's a difference between Dick Tracy and Batman signing a petition to get Carl Romanelli on the ballot, and somebody's signature not looking exactly the same as when they signed their voter registration card.