Jason Scheuer of conservative website Breitbart writes that the antitrust lawsuit filed by the Green and Libertarian parties and their 2012 presidential nominees against the Commission on Presidential Debates “may turn out to be the most important event of the 2016 presidential election.”
“If successful,” he writes, “it will permanently expand the number of candidates on the debate stage during the general election by proving that the Commission on Presidential Debates is in violation of current antitrust law.” In 2012, Green Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson “were not included in approximately 90 percent of the popular polls,” making it all but impossible for either of them to reach the CPD’s 15% polling threshold or to be reflected as serious candidates by the mainstream media.
Scheuer argues that voter suppression “is about restrictive laws (written by Republicans and Democrats) to prevent anyone but their respective parties from ever showing up on the ballot. Numerous ballot access laws act as barriers to entry but are sold to the public as a way of bringing order and preventing confusion. It sounds fair but, in reality, is far from it. This lawsuit hopes to rectify some of these injustices.”
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.”
David Weigel of The Washington Post reports on the antitrust suit against the Commission on Presidential Debates filed by the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and their 2012 presidential nominees Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
The legal complaint “argues that a ‘cognizable political campaign market’ is being corrupted by the commission’s rules,” which bars any candidate who is not “polling at 15 percent or better. Bruce Fein, the attorney for the new plaintiffs, argues over 43 pages that keeping them out of a ‘multi-billion dollar’ market violates ‘antitrust laws, the First Amendment, and District of Columbia tort law.'”
The Post says that “when the complaint is filed in the District of Columbia next week — the precise date is pending — Fein and his plaintiffs will join a crowd of people asking for lower debate thresholds.”
Jill Stein’s Green Party presidential campaign has launched an online petition calling on the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) to open the 2016 debates to alternative party candidates.
The campaign notes that “50% of Americans do not identify as either Democrat or Republican,” and the CPD “is actually a private organization run by the Democratic and Republican parties.” The campaign is calling for the debates to include candidates from all parties on the ballot in enough states to theoretically achieve an electoral vote majority. In 2012, that would have been the Democratic and Republican nominees, as well as Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
Stein and vice presidential running mate Cheri 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.”
The Green Party, presidential candidate Jill Stein, the Libertarian Party, and others will file suit in U.S. District Court in Washington on September 29 alleging “that the Commission on Presidential Debates is in violation of the venerable old anti-trust laws, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act,” Ballot Access News reports.
The lawsuit, expected to by styled Libertarian National Committee v. Commission on Presidential Debates, “should not be confused with Level the Playing Field v Commission on Presidential Debates,” which “argues that the Commission on Presidential Debates violates federal campaign finance laws, because the debates and the Commisison are funded by corporations.”
From Our America Initiative:
Plaintiffs, Legal Team Announced for Challenge to Commission on Presidential Debates
2012 Libertarian and Green Party Candidates Join to Demand Greater inclusiveness in General Election Debates
January 7, 2015, Salt Lake City, UT — The 2012 presidential and vice-presidential nominees of both the Libertarian and Green parties are joining forces to challenge the Commission on Presidential Debates and its use of selection criteria that limit participation in general election presidential debates to the Republican and Democratic nominees.