Lawyers vs. Astronaut

March 29, 2012

The firm that’s seeking to discredit a Space Shuttle flight engineer

Photo: Shutterstock

When you’ve been into space, you’re an astronaut, right? Not according to Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, the Sacramento firm that specialises in campaign, election and administrative law.

Now, BMH has lots of friends in the Republican party. In particular, it has history with Congressman Jeff Denham. A ‘longtime elected official’, Denham is standing against a chap by the name of Jose Hernandes for the congressional seat of Californian Congressional District 10, located in the San Joaquin Valley.

But Denham has a problem. Hernandez is an astronaut. He was Flight Engineer on the Space Shuttle Discovery’s mission to the International Space Station in August 2009. And as followers of John Glenn and other astronaut-politicians know full well, there’s nothing a voter loves better than a rocketman.

Luckily for Denham, those canny Goppers at BMH are attempting to disqualify the candidate based on his ballot designation as ‘astronaut’. According to the lawsuit:

Hernandez’ attempted use of ‘astronaut’ violates the Election Code’s unambiguous requirement that a candidate’s ballot designation reflect one’s current profession, vocation, or one held during the previous calendar year.

As Hernandez has not been into space since 2009, he is clearly guilty of misrepresentation, and therefore an unworthy choice to represent the people.

All this is sad news for Barack Obama, who personally encouraged Hernandez to stand for the House. And there are plenty of individuals who support Hernandez. According to a Huffington Post columnist, his life has not been entirely without credit:

Hernandez was not fluent in English until he was 12, but he maintained an unwavering commitment to his education. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of the Pacific and a master’s degree in engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was employed as an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for 15 years. In his time at Livermore Labs, Hernandez was recognized for his work helping to develop the first full-field digital mammography imaging system, which has successfully increased early detection of breast cancer. He also received recognition for his work on behalf of both the Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy on Russian nuclear non-proliferation issues.

He has also qualified as a pilot, a master SCUBA diver, run eleven marathons and learned Russian.

Fighting the suit is likely to cost Hernandez $20,000. AB



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