Michigan Supreme Court Leaves 'Tea Party' Off November Ballot

A shadowy group calling itself "The Tea Party" won't be allowed on the state's November ballot after a Friday order from the Michigan Supreme Court.

The high court's 5-2 vote lets stand a ruling earlier this week from the Michigan Court of Appeals that keeps "The Tea Party" off the ballot because it didn't comply with some technical requirements in state law.

Republicans and tea party activists consider "The Tea Party" a Democrat-supported fake aimed at siphoning away votes from conservative candidates. The effort has connections to a former Oakland County Democratic Party official.

The appeals court ruled earlier this week "The Tea Party" could not be on the ballot because of an irregularity on its petitions circulated to make the ballot. The word "the" in "The Tea Party" title was not in 24-point bold face type on its petitions as required by law.

The Supreme Court denied a request to appeal, with the majority saying it was "not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court."

A message was left seeking comment after Friday's ruling with Michael Hodge, an attorney representing "The Tea Party."

The court battle started last month after the Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2 on a proposal that would have placed "The Tea Party" on the ballot. The tie vote, with Republicans opposing the measure to put the group on the ballot and Democrats supporting it, meant "The Tea Party" could nominate candidates in late July. But regular tea party activists weren't notified of the event and it wasn't advertised. An attorney for "The Tea Party" has said the convention was attended by 10 to 15 people.

Opponents say "The Tea Party" broke state laws related to nominating conventions.

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly and Justice Diane Hathaway, both nominated by Democrats, would have granted "The Tea Party" request to appeal and further contest the case.

The majority was formed by three Republican-nominated justices and two Democratic-nominated justices, including Alton Thomas Davis, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week.