Image: Rick Perry
Chris Keane  /  REUTERS
Republican presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry waves after speaking during the Faith and Freedom Prayer Breakfast in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina January 15, 2012.
NBC News
updated 1/18/2012 2:12:24 PM ET 2012-01-18T19:12:24

A federal appeals court has rejected Rick Perry's request for an emergency order to put his name on the primary election ballot in Virginia.

Following the reasoning of the federal judge who rejected Perry's request last week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond said Perry "had every opportunity to challenge the various Virginia ballot requirements at a time when the challenge would not have created the disruption that this last-minute lawsuit has."

The Supreme Court, today's ruling says, has repeatedly urged that judges not "upend the orderly progression of state electoral processes at the eleventh hour."

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Allowing Perry to pursue his complaint now, about the process for gathering signatures on petitions to qualify for the ballot "would not be fair to the states or to other candidates who did comply with the prescribed process in a timely manner, and it would throw the presidential nominating process into added turmoil," the court said.

"I am pleased with the Fourth Circuit ruling and that Virginia's orderly election process will be able to move forward," said Virginia’s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, who defended the state’s balloting system in court.

NBC's Carrie Dann has the response from Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan:

"We are proud to fight for the rights of Virginia voters to be able to make a meaningful decision and cast their ballots for the candidate of their choice. This appellate ruling only affirms the trial court's assertion that the state's process of printing ballots should not be disrupted. An orderly ballot access process is important, but of little significance if viable candidates are unconstitutionally kept off the ballot. The trial judge's holding that the statute is unconstitutional is not disturbed. Gov. Perry is weighing options for appeal."

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