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Washington Republican Party Takes New Legal Action to Invalidate "Top-Two"

Published on March 30, 2008, by in General.

On March 28, the Washington Republican Party asked the U.S. District Court that first heard the case against the “top-two” system, to let the party file an amended complaint in that same case.

The U.S. Supreme Court on March 18 had ruled that the “top-two” system does not violate the associational rights of political parties on its face, but had left the door open to new lawsuits against the system on other grounds, and also left the door open to a renewal of the associational argument “as applied.”

The Republican Party seeks to revise its original complaint, to make two new points: (1) the advertising in favor of the “Top-Two” initiative was false; (2) that in practice, the system will confuse voters into thinking that candidates listed on the ballot as preferring the Republican Party are actually representing the Republican Party.

The first point depends on the fact that the Washington Supreme Court recently invalidated another initiative that had passed, on the grounds that the advertising for it was false and misleading.

The amended Republican Party complaint about false advertising for the initiative specifically targets the pro-”top-two” advertising that claimed that the initiative would not affect the ability of minor parties to place nominees on the November ballot. There was a great deal of confusion about this during the campaign for “top-two” in 2004. In fact, even the text of the initiative itself contradicted itself on this point. Thanks to Richard Shepard for this news.

13 Responses

  1. Obama Chris

    I hope it gets overturned.

  2. It continues to amaze me that the federal courts apparently did not study Louisiana’s long experience with the “top two.”

  3. Demo Rep

    Super-amazing that EVIL party hacks continue to try to maintain their EVIL power in primaries.

    FOOTNOTE 7 in the WA top 2 opinion by the Supremes —

    7 It is true that parties may no longer indicate their nominees on the ballot, but that is unexceptionable: The First Amendment does not give political parties a right to have their nominees designated as such on
    the ballot. See Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, 520 U. S. 351, 362–363 (1997) (“We are unpersuaded, however, by the party’s contention that it has a right to use the ballot itself to send a particularized message, to its candidate and to the voters, about the nature of itssupport for the candidate”). Parties do not gain such a right simply because the State affords candidates the opportunity to indicate theirparty preference on the ballot. “Ballots serve primarily to elect candidates, not as forums for political expression.” Id., at 363.

    ***

    Pity for a micro-second the powermad EVIL MORON party hacks and their EVIL party hack agendas.

    Any of such MORON party hacks ever heard of the principle that —-

    Elections CURE ALL ??? [since the courts MUST presume that the voters *know* what they are doing when voting on ANY issue --- regardless of ALL party hacks.]

    Waiting for the courts to further smash the EVIL MORON party hacks to even smaller bits — as if the WA top 2 opinion was NOT enough.

    See the 13th Amdt smashing the EVIL Slavery monarchs / oligarchs OUT of existance.

    For NON-MORON party hacks (i.e. anybody with some normal political brains) —

    P.R. in ALL legislative body elections.

    Approval Voting for executive / judicial officers.

    NO MORON party hack caucuses, primaries and conventions are needed.

    Political *Science* has advanced — regardless of party hack Stone Age BARBARIAN MORONS.

  4. Demo Rep: Did you feel like a “MORON” after you voted in those party primaries?

    E-X-I-S-T-E-N-C-E

  5. Jim R

    The (5-4) Washington Supreme Court ruling was that I-747 violated the following section of the Washington Constitution:

    ARTICLE II, SECTION 37

    “REVISION OR AMENDMENT. No act shall ever be revised or amended by mere reference to its title, but the act revised or the section amended shall be set forth at full length.”

    I-747 (adopted in 2001) sought to decrease the rate of increase in property taxes to 1%, from the 2% rate which had been imposed by initiative I-722 (adopted in 2000). I-722 was under court challenge based on a claim that it had legislated on two subject matters, and the sponsors of I-722 had filed I-747 as a safety net in case I-722 was overturned.

    I-747 was based on law set out in I-722, and showed a change from 2% to 1%. I-747 was initially filed after a preliminary injunction against I-722 was issued by a lower court. While the petitions were being circulated, I-722 was permanently enjoined, and this was upheld by the Washington Supreme Court before the election in which I-747 was passed. The effect of the injunction was that the law reverted to its state before I-722.

    The Supreme Court ruled that therefore I-747 did not fully set out the law that was to be revised, since that law was no longer in effect.

    Effectively, voters were “misled” in believing that we were choosing between a 2% and 1% cap when they were actually choosing between a 6% and 1% cap.

    The following is the ballot title for I-747:

    “Initiative Measure No. 747 concerns limiting property tax increases. This measure would require state and local governments to limit property tax levy increases to 1% per year, unless an increase greater than this limit is approved by the voters at an election.”

    The Washington State Republican party issued the following press release after I-747 was overturned:

    “Supreme Court Rejects I-747 The State Supreme Court threw a tax time bomb right into Gregoire’s lap by throwing out I-747 on a hyper-technicality …”

    and further urged that Gov. Gregoire call a special session of the legislature to reinstate I-747.

    It would appear that the Republican party is trying to get the Top 2 primary overturned on the basis of what they characterized as a “hyper-technicality” just a few months ago. Wouldn’t the proper course of action be to challenge the initiative in the Washington courts? Why should a federal court interpret the Washington constitution when you have a state court for that purpose. Don’t the Republicans believe in the 10th Amendment?

  6. Demo Rep

    To Mr. Rankin 4:

    Lots of EVIL stuff in the EVIL rotted past — due to lots of EVIL party hacks having control back then.

    Reforms for REAL Democracy move on — regardless of EVIL party hacks who created / maintained every EVIL rotted monarchy and oligarchy in the last 6,000 plus years of recorded history.

    What sayeth New Age party hacks about footnote 7 of the Supremes ???

  7. Assuming that the “top two” monstrosity is implemented: the parties will be able to indicate their nominees in the voter pamphlet as well as other advertising venues.

    A voter who wants to know who the party nominees are will have no trouble getting that information. It will be interesting to see whether one or both of the major parties require anyone seeking their nomination to pledge NOT to run in the subsequent election if he fails to win the nomination. If that happens, grassroots voters will have fewer choices.

  8. Demo Rep

    Independent candidates and voters in the top 2 primary AND the general election will be happy to totally wipe out all party hack candidates endorsed by party hack elites.

    How many candidates will attack ANY party hack endorsement of them ??? — saying in effect — I am not and never have been a member of the party hack ZZZ party — and I totally disown the endorsement of me by the party hacks in the ZZZ party.

    The party hacks will in some cases say the same about a party preference indicated by some candidates.

    It will be a very entertaining show for the pundits and the voters.

    The movement towards REAL Democracy continues — regardless of Stone Age party hacks with their foreign wars and domestic oppressions for thousands of years.

    P.R. now for legislative body elections — something for party hacks to play with.

    NONPARTISAN Approval Voting for executive/ judicial offices — to get NONPARTISAN enforcement of the laws.

    For math folks –

    A > B

    Choice C comes along.

    C may —

    beat both A and B
    lose to both A and B
    beat A, lose to B
    beat B, lose to A
    [assuming no ties]

    Will there be more or less choices in top 2 primaries than before — especially in old 1 party gerrymander areas — that had only the *safe seat* incumbent running for office ??? Stay tuned.

  9. Jim R

    Steve Rankin #7, Would such an agreement be enforceable? Or even legal?

  10. The agreement would not be legally enforceable, since the state does not recognize nominations in the “top two.”

    In the summer of 2005, the WA Republicans and Democrats had started such a process in anticipation of the “top two.” Reagan Dunn– son of Jennifer Dunn– ran for a county post and promised not to run in the “top two” election if he lost the GOP nomination. When Dunn lost, he reneged on his promise. Of course, the US District Court ruled against the “top two,” and WA continued with open primaries that year.

    Breaking such a promise is similar to a convention delegate or a presidential elector reneging on his pledge.

    The Mississippi Republicans had a similar process for the 1981 special US House election (there are no party primaries in MS’s special elections). Eight or ten people sought the endorsement, and the winner was the only Republican on the special election ballot.

  11. Jim R

    So what are you going to put in the voter’s pamphlet – remembering that there are candidate who may favor other parties, and voters who may not be aligned with either party?

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  13. The idea that the almost universally finacially strapped 3rd parties would be able to crank out publicity which all must be paid for since the news media in Washington is allergic to printng anything useful about our candidates or parties is interesting. I’m sure Dwight Pells and the Republican Party, (is it still Chris Vance?) would love that. We just discovered the payback from our beloved Sec of State for our non support of his newest bill…only the Republican and Democratic parties are listed on his web page as parties.

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