On December 18, California attorney Roger William Clark, who wants to run for Attorney General of California in 2010 as a Republican, asked the California Supreme Court to overturn the California law that prevents him from getting on any primary ballot in 2010.
Clark was a registered Democrat until May 1, 2009, when he changed to the Republican Party. He can’t get his name on the Republican primary ballot because the law says no one may qualify for a primary ballot in a partisan race if that person was a member of a different party during the year before filing. The filing deadline for California non-presidential primaries is in mid-March. Clark originally filed his lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in August 2009, but that Court upheld the law on October 28, 2009. That decision is called Clark v Bowen, BC420243. The lower court decision has a few errors; it says Clark wants to run for Secretary of State (which is not correct) and it says the primary is in March 2010 (actually the primary is in June 2010).
Clark depends on the California Constitution. In the past, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the California Constitution gives stronger protection for candidates than the U.S. Constitution does. But in 2002, the California Supreme Court seemed to strip that extra protection away, when it upheld a San Francisco Elections Department policy of not permitting write-in votes in run-off elections. That decision was called Edelstein v City and County of San Francisco, and it overturned a 1985 decision by the California Supreme Court that said the California Constitution protects write-in votes in run-off elections. Edelstein v City and County of San Francisco was a 4-3 decision, and was written by former Justice Janice Rogers Brown, who is no longer on the California Supreme Court. She now sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit.