Washington (CNN) – The Supreme Court on Friday turned aside an appeal from an independent congressional candidate affiliated with the conservative Tea Party movement, who demanded Virginia election officials accept signatures on petitions to place his name on the ballot.
Herb Lux of Rapphannock, Virginia, had filed an emergency appeal with Chief Justice John Roberts, arguing that, less than six week before Election Day, he needs a final ruling on whether his name can appear alongside other office-seekers.
At issue is a state law requiring congressional candidates to obtain a minimum number of signatures before appearing on the ballot. The twist is that most of Lux's signatures were invalidated because he himself witnessed them. Normally that is not a problem, but state law says only a resident of the congressional district can collect such nominating petitions himself.
Lux is seeking a seat in the Seventh District - now held by Republican Rep. Eric Cantor - but lives in the adjacent First District. Virginia does not require a candidate for the House of Representatives to live in the district he or she is running.
Federal courts had earlier turned away the lawsuit, filed against three officials with the Virginia Board of Elections.
In a three-page order, Roberts said Lux failed to justify he had enough of a case to be granted an injunction. "It cannot be said that his right to relief is indisputably clear," Roberts wrote. "The application for an injunction is denied."
It is now likely Lux's name will not appear on the ballot.
In his emergency "application" with the court, Lux's attorney - James Bopp, Jr. - said the state law was too restrictive, and unfairly hurts independent, less well-funded candidates like his client.
"The Supreme Court has clearly indicated that under the First Amendment a state may not prohibit large classes of people from circulating petitions absent a compelling reason," Bopp said.
"There is simply no reason for prohibiting Mr. Lux from circulating his own petitions." Bopp heads the James Madison Center for Free Speech, a conservative legal group and law firm.
Lux is a self-described "Constitutionalist," who founded the American Patriots Committee, a statewide group which, according to its Web site, supports "righteous men and women for elected office that understand and will support our Constitution, as it is written and according to its original intent with the meanings of the terms and words as defined at the time of its writing."
He has spoken at several Tea Party-related events.
The grassroots, populist Tea Party movement has gained political momentum this election year through a series of nationwide protests against high taxes and excessive government bureaucracy.
The case is Lux v. Rodrigues (10A298).