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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trial in Idaho Republicans' Suit Begins October 12, 2010

The Idaho Republican Party filed a lawsuit against that state's primary election law in April 2008. The law says that each voter picks a party on primary day, and each party's primary is open to any voter. The GOP wants to be able to enforce its rule that only its party members may vote in Republican primaries.

U. S. district judge B. Lynn Winmill determined that a trial is necessary, and that trial will start in the district court in Boise on October 12, 2010. The Republican Party will present evidence of non-Republicans voting in GOP primaries, while the state will presumably show evidence to the contrary (Idaho Republican Party v. Ysursa, 08-cv-165).

I have been predicting that, when such a case reaches the U. S. Supreme Court, the justices will strike down the state-mandated open primary. At this point, the Idaho Republicans' suit appears to have a better chance of prompting that landmark ruling than does the similar federal lawsuit that was recently brought by the South Carolina Republican Party.

In December 2007, in a suit filed by a local unit of the Virginia Republican Party, the 4th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that, when a party is required to nominate by primary, the party-- not the state-- decides who is eligible to vote in that primary (Miller v. Cunningham).

In May 2008, the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed the district court and dismissed the lawsuit against Mississippi's state-mandated open primary. The reason for this was that the Democrats had not adopted a party rule for a closed primary (Mississippi Democratic Party v. Barbour). Notably, the South Carolina Republican Party has likewise not ratified such a rule, while, again, the Idaho Republican Party has.

Thanks to Ballot Access News for the news about the date of the trial.

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