Roundup of Election Law Cases in US Supreme Court

Ballot-Access News

The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing three election law cases this year, and possibly some early next year. The three that will definitely be heard are:

1. Federal Election Commission v Wisconsin Right to Life, on whether the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Law is unconstitutional as applied, in the case of not-for-profit corporations that want to run broadcast ads within 60 days of an election that mention candidates without asking viewers to vote for or against them. This will be argued April 25. Amici briefs in favor of the FEC have been filed by the League of Women Voters, three law professors, the Committee for Economic Development, and U.S. Senator John McCain. Amici briefs in favor of Wisconsin Right to Life have been filed by the Center for Competitive Politics, Citizens United, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Family Research Council, the Coalition of Public Charities, the National Rifle Association, the National Association of Realtors, the Republican National Committee, the American Center for Law and Justice, Focus on the Family, the Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Alliance for Justice.

2. New York State Board of Elections v Lopez Torres, on New York state procedures for judicial candidates (or their slates of delegates) to run in party primaries. New York Board of Elections’ brief is due May 7; Lopez Torres’ brief is due July 11; argument is likely in October or November 2007.

3. Washington State v Republican Party of Washington, on the “top-two” primary. Washington state’s brief is due May 14; the Republican, Democratic and Libertarian Party briefs are due August 6; argument is likely in October or November 2007.

In addition, two interesting cert petitions are pending:

1. Underwood v Guam, filed by the 2006 Democratic Party candidate for Governor of Guam, seeks a ruling that over-votes are “votes cast”, and therefore no one got a majority in the November 2006 election and Guam should have held a run-off. Guam’s response to the request that the U.S. Supreme Court hear this case is due April 18.

2. Kidwell v City of Union, Ohio, over whether a city government can spend taxpayer money advertising for a “no” vote on an initiative. The city has responded to Kidwell’s cert petition.

The Court will probably decide in May or June whether to hear either the Guam case or the Kidwell case.

7 Responses to “Roundup of Election Law Cases in US Supreme Court”

  1. SovereignMN Says:

    Kidwell vs Union,OH sounds interesting. I’ve often wondered that question myself. Our city recently spent taxpayer money to promote a tax levy (which passed). So they spent our money to convince people to take more of it. Greeeeeeeeeeat.

  2. matt Says:

    Both of those cert positions are worthy of the court’s time. Much more so than the stupid Anna Nicole case they dickered around with a few years back!

  3. globalist_elitist Says:

    How was Anna Nicole’s case “not worthy” of the court’s time?

  4. matt Says:

    The Marshall v. Marshall case was all about federal interference into a state-level judicial issue, and it was almost certainly helped along by the famous name and the large amount of money involved. Civil liberties writs are being ignored so that this type of thing can go through? Ridiculous.

  5. globalist_elitist Says:

    I guess I don’t know enough about the case. It was an inheritance dispute. What should have been the ruling? I guess I don’t care. But it was a pretty serious case involving a LOT of money.

  6. matt Says:

    As I understand it, the Supreme Court takes cases for 2 reasons:

    A) to right especially grevious injustices

    B) to expand and clarify confusing points in existing law.

    Since they get loads and loads of cert writs each year, by taking this one, they are saying either that Anna Nicole is one of the 10 most oppressed people in the country or that conflicting state court decisions relating to wills and bankrupcy create a problem we can’t deal with accurately with existing legal precedent.

    That, or else the Bush Justice Department (sic) was trying to expand the jurisdiction of federal courts and found a celebrity-laden case to do it with.

    One or the other.

  7. matt Says:

    I should clarify. Many mambers of the court throughout history have stated that (A) isn’t their problem and they only focus on (B).

Leave a Reply