On February 13, the Ninth Circuit heard Peta Lindsay & Peace & Freedom Party v Debra Bowen, 13-15085. The issue is whether the California Secretary of State had authority to remove Peta Lindsay from the Peace & Freedom Party’s presidential primary ballot in 2012. Lindsay admittedly was 27 years old, and Article II of the U.S. Constitution says presidents must be at least 35.
The hearing was recorded and anyone with internet access can listen, beginning on Friday, February 14. www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media. The hearing lasted approximately 15 minutes and was the first case argued when court opened at 9:30 a.m.
Section 6720 of the California Election Code says, “The Secretary of State shall place the name of a candidate upon the Peace & Freedom Party presidential preference ballot when the Secretary of State has determined that the candidate is generally advocated for or recognized throughout the United States or California as actively seeking the presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party or the national party with which the Peace and Freedom Party is affiliated.” One of the three judges asked about the term “shall”. The attorney for the Secretary of State said there are judicial opinions from California state court which say that “shall” does not necessarily mean the public official must carry out the act described.
One judge asked, “What statutes authorize deletion?” and the state’s response was “The Election Code and the Government Code as a whole.” One judge asked, “Suppose the Secretary of State is a birther?” There was discussion of the various lawsuits over whether President Obama and John McCain meet the constitutional qualifications. The three judges on the case are Alex Kozinski, Diarmuid O’Scannlain, and Mary Murguia.