Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Lose Anti-Trust Debates Lawsuit

On August 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the lawsuit filed by Gary Johnson and Jill Stein against the Commission on Presidential Debates.  Johnson v Commission on Presidential Debates, 16-7107.  The 11-page decision is written by Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who has been hostile to minor parties and independents throughout her whole career, which began on the California Supreme Court and then extended to the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit.  She wrote that the plaintiffs lack standing

Judge Cornelia Pillard, an Obama appointee, wrote separately to say that the plaintiffs do have standing, but that they still cannot win the case for other procedural reasons.

Judge Brown, while on the California Supreme Court, wrote the 2002 opinion in Edelstein v Nishioka.  It said that nothing in the California Constitution, nor the U.S. Constitution, protects the right of voters to cast a write-in vote.  It reversed a 1986 decision of the California Supreme Court, Canaan v Abdelnour, which had said both constitutions do protect the right of voters to vote for anyone they wish.  In 2012, Brown, while on the D.C. Circuit, upheld the postal regulation that bans petitioning on interior postal sidewalks.

The other debates lawsuit, Level the Playing Field v FEC, is still pending in U.S. District Court, and has a much more sympathetic judge.  Thanks to Rick Hasen for the news.


Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Lose Anti-Trust Debates Lawsuit — 12 Comments

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  2. The COPD is more part of the rotted Electoral College *national nightmare* — see the JUNK start of the hack judges opinion.

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  3. Yet another example of authoritarian plutocracy/fascism to thrust in the online faces of the people who dare to claim we are free in this country. Thanks for the news though.

  4. No, it was 4-3. I was in the courtroom. I remember Justice Brown not asking a single question, but she sat there glowering at the attorney who represented the voters and candidate.

  5. The majority opinion said it did not have to reach a conclusion whether a total write-in ban would violate the California Constitution, while the concurring opinion explicitly said it would.

    The Canaan decision was with respect to a San Diego law that forbade write-insurance in the general election.

    Who argued the case for the city?

  6. Awful decision. Completely misunderstands, or better yet, misstates standing doctrine. She even says that the claim for damages is the equivalent of a claim for injunctive/declaratory relief, which is absurd. The distinction between the two is a cornerstone in standing doctrine. See Los Angeles v.Lyons. She obviously just hates minor parties, as illustrated by her initial paragraph where she chastises minor parties for turning to the courts.

  7. Gee, the government finds the government was perfectly right to refuse the minor parties the right to debate openly against the major parties where the average voter could see for themselves the merits of the minor parties arguments. And some people actually think that we have free and fair elections in Amerika.

  8. And this is why you don’t piss away money on law suits and instead take those millions and start your own commission. It’s really no that hard to do. A couple million dollars, ads on youtube, facebook and twitter to promote the debates, and you’d have a multi-million viewer streamed debate series.

  9. @Aiden James,
    That would work if the COPD didn’t have that rule where if a candidate goes to any other debate they are disqualified from theirs. No DEM or REP would go to that other debate, and therefore no matter how much money is spent no mainstream media or any TV network will cover an ONLY 3rd party debate. There have been 3rd-party debates that the main candidates didn’t attend and they got next to nothing mentioned in the media.

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