On November 16, attorneys for the state of South Carolina filed this brief in the lawsuit South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission, pending in the 4th circuit.
The Green Party nominated Eugene Platt for state legislature on May 3, 2008, at a convention. The next month, Platt was defeated for the Democratic Party nomination for the same seat. South Carolina permits fusion, so Platt had been hoping to be the nominee of both parties in November. Because he lost the Democratic nomination in June, the Green Party nomination was considered void by the state, and Platt was omitted from the November ballot entirely. The state’s brief mostly ignores Platt’s strongest precedent, called California Democratic Party v Jones, the U.S. Supreme Court 2000 decision that said it is unconstitutional for a state to force a party to let outsiders help determine its nominee. Platt argues that since the Democratic Party was permitted to cancel out his Green Party nomination, the South Carolina system (as appled to instances when a minor party nominates first, before a major party nominating event) violates the principles set forth in California Democratic Party v Jones.
The state argues that Platt knew he was jeopardizing his Green Party nomination by running in the Democratic primary, and if he wanted to guarantee his Green Party nomination he should have avoided seeking the Democratic nomination. One wonders, what is the purpose of South Carolina’s fusion law, if not to encourage (rather than discourage) candidates from trying to use it.
The state’s brief also has a factual error on page 23. It says the U.S. Taxpayers Party nominated Pat Buchanan for president in 1996. This is not true. The U.S. Taxpayers Party only held one presidential convention in 1996, in San Diego, in August 1996, and it nominated Howard Phillips for President.