Two lawsuits involving minor parties have oral arguments during the first week in December. One is Libertarian Party v Dardenne, 09-30307, being heard in the 5th circuit on December 3. This is the case on whether the Louisiana Secretary of State was correct last year when he refused to permit the ballot-qualified Libertarian Party to file its presidential elector paperwork on September 12. The panel will be Judges James Dennis, Catharine Haynes, and Carl Stewart. Judge Dennis was one of the judges who upheld the Texas ballot access law for independent presidential candidates in 2004. The other two judges have never had a ballot access case.
On December 4, a U.S. District Court in Long Island, New York, will hear oral arguments in MacKay v Crews, 2:09-cv-2218. This is another lawsuit to identify the actual national party officers of the Reform Party. The judge has promised a speedy decision. The first-named Defendant, Kay Crews, is not a member of the Reform Party. She was the court-appointed parliamentarian appointed by a Texas court to supervise the party’s national convention in Texas last year.
Also during the first week in December, Washington state will be filing its brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in John Doe v Sam Reed, the case over whether names and addresses of people who sign petitions should be made public. It will be interesting to see how the Washington Secretary of State defends his position. In the 9th circuit he argued that the petitions aren’t truly private in any event, because as petition sheets circulate, someone who is signing near the bottom of the sheet can see the names and addresses of people who signed the same sheet earlier. This is not a very convincing argument. Some of the referendum petition sheets at issue in this particular case were only circulated in churches, not in open public spaces, so only fellow church members would have seen the same sheets. Also, census data and income tax forms are considered private, but it is inevitable that some government employees see the information.