Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Court finds against us, split decision.

Owie. We lost. We got a split panel of judges, but we lost. Here is the decision...

Mitch Kokai has an article on the decision here, a quick hitter.

Judge Ann Marie Calabria dissented from the majority opinion, writing:

North Carolina’s 2% statewide requirements for both ballot access and ballot retention place too onerous a burden on the fundamental rights of members of third parties under the State Constitution. The State, by permitting ballot access under far less burdensome requirements for unaffiliated candidates, has proven that it can accomplish its compelling interest in ballot regulation in a less restrictive fashion. It is ultimately the role of the Legislature, rather than this Court, to determine a precise method of ballot access and/or retention that is permissible under the State Constitution. ... However, the ballot access statutes must, at the very least, allow both political parties and unaffiliated candidates equal access to the ballot.

It is a difficult problem, for the judges. There is a VERY substantial presumption of deference to legislative will, when it comes to the regulation of "time, place, and manner" of local and state elections. And rightly so, since the US Constitution is perfectly clear about this.

I have not read the majority opinion yet....


Tom said...

In no state has a lower court ever found ballot access laws unconstitutional. It's always the state's supreme court.

So, we expected this. Still sad tho.

Brian Irving said...

Justice Calabria said that although the State has a "compelling interest" in avoiding "ballot confusion," "the compelling interest of the people of North Carolina as explicitly delineated in the State Constitution are thwarted by ballot access statutes."

Yes, this ultimately is a political issue. However, the Democrat-Republican duopoly has no "compelling interest" to let anyone else on the ballot.