The National Law Journal reports that attorneys for 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have filed papers seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit brought by the Green Party and Libertarian Party over their nominees’ exclusion from the presidential and vice presidential debates that year.
The lawsuit, which also names the Commission on Presidential Debates, Barack Obama’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and the Republican National Committee, says the defendants illegally conspired in violation of antitrust laws to exclude Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala, Gary Johnson, and Jim Gray from the “presidential debates market, the presidential campaign market, and the electoral politics market.”
Attorneys for the defendants argue that political activity is not covered by antitrust law, but attorney Bruce Fein, representing the plaintiffs, disagrees. He said in an interview, “Somehow running for president isn’t a commercial activity, even though it’s projected that in 2016 races, collectively, people will spend $5 to $10 billion dollars.”
Stein and Honkala were arrested in October 2012 when they attempted to enter the grounds of the presidential debate site at Hofstra University in New York. At the time, Stein called the debate a “mockery of democracy.”