Some Post Office Petitioning Now OK

The Postal Service did not ask for a rehearing of the DC Circuit’s August 9, 2005 decision on postal petitioning. The time for requesting a rehearing has now expired. Therefore, it is now legal for circulators to use perimeter post office sidewalks (but not yet interior sidewalks). However, since not all postal employees may be aware of this, it would be worthwhile for anyone to know that the decision is called Initiative & Referendum Institute v US Postal Service, case no. 04-5045, and that the decision came down Aug. 9, 2005. For those who are ultra-cautious, it would be good to have a copy of that decision. The attorney for the Initiative & Referendum Institute can probably e-mail a copy of the decision to those who really need it. He is David Klein, dfklein@swidlaw.com. Let him know of any experience in which a postal employee bars petitioning in a perimeter sidewalk (perimeter sidewalk is one that is parallel to a public street, not a sidewalk leading from a post office itself to the post office parking lot).

U.S. Supreme Court Takes Another Campaign Finance Case

On September 27, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will hear Vermont Republican State Committee v Sorrell, on whether a state can limit the amount of money any particular candidate spends (even when there is no public funding in place). The 2nd circuit had upheld Vermont limits on expenditures, even though in 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in Buckley v Valeo that expenditure limits violate the free speech part of the 1st amendment.

N.C. Libertarians Denied Temporary Restraining Order

On September 26, a lower state court refused to force the city of Charlotte to hold a primary for the Libertarian Party for mayor. The primary is September 27, and two Libertarians had filed for the post before the party was decertified. The Charlotte Libertarians will now choose a candidate for Mayor by either private mail ballot or a convention. The party will return to court in mid-October 2005, seeking a preliminary injunction to put its various city candidates on the November 2005 ballots. Libertarian Party of North Carolina v State Board of Elections, 05-cvs-13073, Wake Co.

Constitution Candidate Raises More Money than Democrat

California is holding a special congressional election on Oct. 4. Campaign reports filed September 22 with the Federal Election Commission show that Constitution (American Independent) Party candidate Jim Gilchrist has raised more money than any Democrat running in the race. Gilchrist raised $111,731, whereas the leading Democrat, Steve Young, had only raised $62,493. Two Republicans, however, raised considerably more than Gilchrist. State Senator John Campbell had raised $795,019, and Assemblymember Marilyn Brewer had raised $577,259.

New Jersey Judge says being kept out of a debate is not harmful

On September 19, New Jersey Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jeff Pawlowski filed a lawsuit against a public TV station that planned to invite only the Democratic and Republican nominees for Governor. On September 20 a judge in Middlesex County Superior Court denied injunctive relief on the grounds that Pawlowski would not suffer “irreparable harm” if he were omitted from the debate. Pawlowski v New Jersey Network. Pawlowski’s lawsuit was strong, because the US Supreme Court had ruled in Arkansas Educational TV Foundation v Forbes that public TV cannot avoid inviting all candidates with a real campaign into its debates. Pawlowski already raised $300,000 for his campaign and met the threshold to be invited into the debate sponsored by the State Campaign Finance Division. However, that is a hollow victory, since the Democratic and Republican nominees are not attending that debate. Pawlowski is not appealing, since it’s too late. There is a chance there will be some League of Women Voters 4-candidate debates.