Tom DeLay has long warned of an "out-of-control judiciary" and now his fears have been realized.
A series of judges clearly beyond his control - Republicans as well as Democrats, serving on the Texas state bench as well as federal courts - blocked what may be the former House majority leader's last political maneuver.
The final blow came Monday, when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, one of the court's most conservative members, refused to allow Mr. DeLay to replace himself on a Texas congressional ballot with a hand-picked successor. Thus, the once mighty Hammer will simply withdraw from his re-election contest, leaving the Republican slot on the ballot empty and forcing his party to pin its hopes on a write-in candidate.
There's something poetic about this judicial denouement of Representative DeLay's scandal-scarred congressional career. He moved first to escape his colleagues' judgment by resigning from Congress this spring, then tried to escape humiliation at the hands of long-friendly voters in Sugar Land, Texas, by taking his name off the ballot in favor of a party substitute. He even changed his drivers' license and voter registration to Virginia to show he was no longer a Texan.
But when Democrats cried foul, judges all stuck by a Texas law that says parties can't put in pinch-hitters after the primary unless there's no opponent. Dad-gum activists!