On February 13, the Ninth Circuit will hear Chamness v Maldonado, 11-56303, in Pasadena, California. This is the lawsuit that challenges California’s ban on the ballot label “independent” in elections for Congress and partisan state office. California does not ban “independent” for presidential independent candidates, but the implementing language for the top-two system oddly does ban that word for other office.
The State Supreme Courts of Massachusetts and Minnesota have both ruled in the past that “independent” is such an important term for independent candidates, that states cannot ban it from appearing on the ballot. Nevertheless, the U.S. District Court in 2011 had upheld the law.
The hearing will be at the Courthouse at 125 South Grand Avenue, in a residential part of western Pasadena. The judges will be Marsha Berzon, Paul Watford, and James Carr, a visiting U.S. District Court Judge from Ohio.