Pennsylvania Minor Parties Win Important Procedural Victory on Standing in Third Circuit

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.”


Pennsylvania Minor Parties Win Important Procedural Victory on Standing in Third Circuit — No Comments

  1. How ironic that anyone could believe the very parties harmed by the terrible PA law “lack standing”. That is simply incredible!

  2. The judges of the robot party hack courts should resign if they have nothing better to do than make editorial comments.

    i.e. just declare that the standing stuff exists and remand the case.

    On the merits – are the taxpayers supposed to pay for zillions of petitions determined to be illegal ???

    i.e. what is the cost to check on the validity of each name address and signature ???

    contract out the cost to some poor overseas regime ???

  3. There is no rule that says there even need to be petitions. For years, a bill has been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature that would define a qualified minor party as a group that had registration membership of one-twentieth of 1%. That would put the Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties on the general election ballot (they would nominate by convention at their own expense) and no one would need to mess around with petitions. The taxpayers would be far better off. But one Committee Chairman has blocked the bill from being heard, for years. That is Senator Smucker of Lancaster.

  4. ALL of the State legislatures are EVIL arrogant ANTI-Democracy minority rule gerrymander oligarchies

    — i.e. full of Stalin and Hitler clones — getting worse and worse after each gerrymander election.

    The media is brain dead.
    The courts are worse than brain dead.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  5. Senator Smucker claims his hands are tied because Senator Joe Scarnati, Senate President Pro Tempore, doesn’t want the bill to advance.

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