SC Green Party Ballot Access Case before the Federal Court of Appeals

Eugene Platt

James Island Public Service Commissioner Eugene Platt

This morning in Richmond, Virginia, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), our country’s preeminent institutional guardian of Constitutional rights, argued the case of South Carolina Green Party (SCGP) v. South Carolina State Election Commission (SEC) in the Federal Court of Appeals (for the Fourth Circuit). For details click on this link: http://www.aclu.org/voting-rights/aclu-tells-appellate-court-south-carolinas-ballot-access-law-unconstitutional

Although a decision by the court may be weeks or months away, the SCGP remains optimistic. Furthermore, although I would not presume to speak for the ACLU, based on its unwavering commitment to the protection of Constitutional rights, I think the ACLU would, if necessary, be prepared to argue this case in the Supreme Court of the United States.

– Thanks to Eugene Platt for the update!

Various voting rights websites have been following this case. Ballot Access News offers this summary:

On May 11, the 4th circuit heard oral arguments in South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina Election Commission, 09-1915. The issue is whether the Green Party’s convention nomination of a legislative candidate, early in the election year, can be voided if that candidate then tries and fails to get another party’s nomination. The three judges were Barbara Keenan, an Obama appointee; Sam Wilson, a visiting U.S. District Court judge from Virginia and a Bush Sr. appointee; and Clyde Hamilton, another Bush Sr. appointee. Perhaps someone who attended the hearing may help us out and describe how the hearing went, via the comments section.

We will post the text of the court’s decision when it is released.

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SC Green Party ballot access case: oral arguments scheduled

Tthe South Carolina Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument in the case of Tempel v. Platt case for 9:30 am on January 6, 2010 in Columbia. The exact location will be announced later, and posted on this website. All interested parties are invited to attend. Representatives of the SC Green Party will certainly be there.

Richard Winger of Ballot Access News recently summarized the issues of the case:

The Green Party nominated Eugene Platt for state legislature on May 3, 2008, at a convention. The next month, Platt was defeated for the Democratic Party nomination for the same seat. South Carolina permits fusion, so Platt had been hoping to be the nominee of both parties in November. Because he lost the Democratic nomination in June, the Green Party nomination was considered void by the state, and Platt was omitted from the November ballot entirely. The state’s brief mostly ignores Platt’s strongest precedent, called California Democratic Party v Jones, the U.S. Supreme Court 2000 decision that said it is unconstitutional for a state to force a party to let outsiders help determine its nominee. Platt argues that since the Democratic Party was permitted to cancel out his Green Party nomination, the South Carolina system (as appled to instances when a minor party nominates first, before a major party nominating event) violates the principles set forth in California Democratic Party v Jones.

This case is also known as “South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission”. The names of cases pursued to appeal from state level and on the federal courts are frequently referred to to the names of the litigants.

More: Archive for the ‘South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission’ Category

SC Green Party Ballot Access Case Moves Ahead

The state of SC has filed its appellate brief in our ongoing ballot access case. Richard Winger’s excellent Ballot Access News has posted the following analysis as well as a link to the 33 page brief.

In 2006, James Island Public Service District Commissioner Eugene Platt, running as a Democrat, came within 40 votes of defeating the GOP incumbent in SC House District 115. In 2008, Mr. Platt secured the Green Party nomination, before being excluded from the ballot by the SC State Election Commission after losing the district Democratic primary. Today, Eugene is once again seeking the District 115 seat, running solely as a Green.

Get involved in Eugene Platt’s campaign by visiting http://voteplatt.com/contact.php.
You can donate to Eugene’s campaign here: http://voteplatt.com/donate.php

From BallotAccessNews.org:

South Carolina Files Brief in Opposition to Green Party Arguments in Ballot Access Case

November 17th, 2009

On November 16, attorneys for the state of South Carolina filed this brief in the lawsuit South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission, pending in the 4th circuit.

The Green Party nominated Eugene Platt for state legislature on May 3, 2008, at a convention. The next month, Platt was defeated for the Democratic Party nomination for the same seat. South Carolina permits fusion, so Platt had been hoping to be the nominee of both parties in November. Because he lost the Democratic nomination in June, the Green Party nomination was considered void by the state, and Platt was omitted from the November ballot entirely. The state’s brief mostly ignores Platt’s strongest precedent, called California Democratic Party v Jones, the U.S. Supreme Court 2000 decision that said it is unconstitutional for a state to force a party to let outsiders help determine its nominee. Platt argues that since the Democratic Party was permitted to cancel out his Green Party nomination, the South Carolina system (as appled to instances when a minor party nominates first, before a major party nominating event) violates the principles set forth in California Democratic Party v Jones.

The state argues that Platt knew he was jeopardizing his Green Party nomination by running in the Democratic primary, and if he wanted to guarantee his Green Party nomination he should have avoided seeking the Democratic nomination. One wonders, what is the purpose of South Carolina’s fusion law, if not to encourage (rather than discourage) candidates from trying to use it.

The state’s brief also has a factual error on page 23. It says the U.S. Taxpayers Party nominated Pat Buchanan for president in 1996. This is not true. The U.S. Taxpayers Party only held one presidential convention in 1996, in San Diego, in August 1996, and it nominated Howard Phillips for President.

Source: http://www.ballot-access.org/2009/11/17/south-carolina-files-brief-in-opposition-to-green-party-arguments-in-ballot-access-case/
SC appellee’s brief: http://www.ballot-access.org/2009/026-Brief-of-Appellees.pdf

Text of South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission, 3:08-cv-02790.

As reported on Ballot Access News on August 13, 2009:

On August 12, U.S. District Court Judge Cameron McGowan Currie, a Clinton appointee, upheld South Carolina election laws that permit fusion, but which also say that if someone gets the nomination of one party first, and later tries to get the nomination of a second party and fails, then the first nomination is voided. South Carolina Green Party v South Carolina State Election Commission, 3:08-cv-02790.

LINK to PDF: 107-Opinion-and-Order

ACLU attorneys representing Eugene Platt and the South Carolina Green Party filed an appeal one day after the unfavorable ruling was handed down.

Thanks to Ballot Access News for posting the complete PDF of the order.