The Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Independent American, and America’s Party, are jointly filing an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Republican Party of Nevada v Miller, 13-442. The five minor parties are arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court ought to hear the case. The issue at this point is standing. The Ninth Circuit had ruled that the Republican Party’s candidates for presidential elector, and various other plaintiffs, did not have standing to challenge the Nevada law concerning “none of these candidates.” The amicus, in agreement with the cert petition, argues that the Ninth Circuit took too cramped an interpretation of standing.
When plaintiffs lack standing, their case cannot be heard by the judicial system. Many unfair election practices continue because the courts rule that no one has standing to challenge the practices. This is especially a problem when the Commission on Presidential Debates is sued by parties and candidates who are harmed by the Commission. It has also been a problem in federal court in Pennsylvania, where a U.S. District Court ruled last year that the minor parties who suffer from the challenge system don’t have standing.
The original complaint in the Nevada lawsuit is that the law authorizing “none of these candidates” to be printed on all Nevada primary and general election ballots for statewide office is constitutionally flawed. Voters who vote for “none of these candidates” are not treated equally with other voters, because if “none of these candidates” wins, nothing happens. However, at this point in the litigation, standing is the only issue. If the U.S. Supreme Court accepted this case and ruled in favor of the Republican Party on standing, then the case would be sent to the lower courts for a decision on the merits.
It is somewhat unusual for minor parties to support major party lawsuits, but it has happened in some previous lawsuits. For example, the Libertarian Party was allied with the Democratic and Republican Parties of California in the lawsuit that challenged California state laws that regulated the structure of political parties and made it a crime for them to endorse candidates in their own primaries.