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Family Court Judge Marlene Budd's rehearing before the Suffolk County Bar Association's screening committee was postponed last week, according to a source close to the process.

It is unclear when she will be able to appeal their original ruling that she wasn't qualified for re-election. Suffolk Republicans and Democrats have voluntarily agreed not to run judges who do not have a qualified rating from the bar associaton.

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What makes the delay signficant is that even if the screening committee stands by its original decision, Budd, who is now an acting state Supreme Court justice, can appeal directly to the bar's board of directors. Time is tight because candidate nominating petitions must be filed at the county Board of Elections between July 6 and 9, and candidates have only until July 13 to decline a nomination.

Since the Democratic Party has already put Budd on its nominating petitions, the party has no power to remove her from the ballot unless she declines the nomination. The only other option would be for Democrats to circulate a petition for another candidate should Budd ultimately be found not qualified. However, the longer the appeal takes, the less chance the party would have enough time to get the needed 2,000 signatures.