On November 30, Ralph Nader asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his ballot access case from Hawaii. The case is Nader v Cronin, 10-728. The case originated in 2004, and challenges the Hawaii policy that requires six times as many signatures for an independent presidential candidate, as for an entire new party. When a new party qualifies in Hawaii, it is entitled to its own primary, and the easy ability to run a candidate for every partisan office in the state. Thus, a new party has far more impact on the ballot than a single independent presidential candidate. Here is the cert petition.
Nader argues that requiring six times as many signatures for an independent presidential candidate than for a new party is not even rational. The 9th circuit had upheld the law in an unsigned short opinion on September 1, 2010.
The U.S. Supreme Court now has two ballot access cases pending. The other one is the Coffield case, which challenges the requirements for an independent or minor party candidate to get on the ballot for U.S. House in Georgia. Those Georgia laws have not been fundamentally altered since 1964, and they are so difficult, they have never been used for U.S. House candidates. An independent candidate did qualify in 1964, but that was before the legislature added a notary requirement, moved the deadline from October to July, limited when such petitions could start to circulate, and started requiring the petitions to be checked for validity. The Georgia law requires a petition of 5% of the number of registered voters.