Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fourth Circuit remands for a decision on the merits regarding challenge to Virginia's open primary law

In MILLER v. BROWN, the Fourth Circuit considered a district court order dismissing a constitutional challenge to Virginia's open primary law for lack of justiciability. The district court held that Virginia's 11th Senatorial District Republican Committee and its chairman, Larry Miller had no standing to challenge the open primary and that any claimexistingg was not ripe. At base, the GOP does not want the Dems participating in the GOP primary.

The Fourth Circuit disagreed that there was no standing. According to the panel:

Focusing on the plaintiffs' injuries reveals that their alleged constitutional injuries are not conjectural or hypothetical. The participation of Democrats in the plaintiffs' upcoming primary is inevitable. Knowing their upcoming process for selecting a nominee will include Democrats prevents the plaintiffs from formulating a message and selecting the candidates best tailored to their party's interests.

The panel also found that the case was ripe: "The only issue in the case is whether Virginia's open primary law violates the plaintiffs' First Amendment rights to freely associate." The Court rejected a contention that the GOP had to wait until at least twocandidatess had filed for office because there would be "insufficient time to decide the case without disrupting the pending election."


Steve Rankin said...

It looks as though Miller v. Brown will likely reach the U. S. Supreme Court ahead of the similar suit, Mississippi Democratic Party v. Barbour.

The Mississippi case is scheduled for a non-jury trial in the federal district court in Greenville, MS, on July 30, 2007.

The district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction for the June 6, 2006, Democratic primary.

Anonymous said...

We must go behind to court .The GOP does not want the Dems participating in the GOP primary. Larry Miller had no reputation to face up to the unfasten primary and that any claimexistingg was not mature.
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