On July 9, the Third Circuit ruled 2-1 that the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties do have standing to challenge the unique Pennsylvania system that puts petitioning groups at risk of tens of thousands of dollars if they submit a petition that is later held to lack enough valid signatures. Constitution Party of Pennsylvania v Aichele, 13-1952.
The decision is by Judge Kent Jordan, a Bush Jr. appointee, and is co-signed by Judge Jane Roth, a Bush Sr. appointee. The dissent is by Judge Thomas Ambro, a Clinton appointee. The majority cleared away all procedural barriers to the case, and sent it back to the U.S. District Court for a ruling on whether the system is unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court had refused to decide if the challenge system is unconstitutional, because the U.S. District Court felt the plaintiffs lack standing.
The majority says, “It would be a sad irony indeed if the state that prides itself on being the cradle of American liberty had unlawfully restrictive ballot access laws.” The oral argument in this case had been on March 6, 2014. After the oral argument, and on June 16, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Susan B. Anthony List v Driehaus that the Sixth Circuit had been too restrictive on standing in that Ohio election law case. Obviously the Susan B. Anthony decision helped the plaintiffs in this Pennsylvania case, and the Third Circuit quotes the Susan B. Anthony decision.
UPDATE: here is a short AP story about the decision. The AP uses the word “fine”, but that is not correct. The AP story should say “court costs.”