A Sacramento law firm is suing to prevent Democratic congressional candidate Jose Hernandez from describing himself as an “astronaut/scientist/engineer” on the June ballot. The firm Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk has ties to Republican politicians:
Attorney Charles Bell Jr., one of two lawyers named on the lawsuit, is general counsel to the California Republican Party. The other attorney listed on the lawsuit, Brian Hildreth, has worked for former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson.
The lawsuit points out that Jose Hernandez did not receive any pay from NASA in 2011 and that
Hernandez’s 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.
Hernandez left NASA in January of 2011. He was
born into a farmworker family, trained as an engineer at the University of the Pacific and was selected as an astronaut candidate in May 2004. He flew aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2009.