On October 29, the Fourth Circuit heard oral argument in Pisano v Strach, 13-1368. The issue is North Carolina’s May 17 petition deadline for newly-qualifying parties. The lower court had upheld the deadline. The three judges who heard the case are: Paul Niemeyer, a Bush Sr. appointee; Diana G. Motz, a Clinton appointee; and Albert Diaz, an Obama appointee. The hearing lasted twenty minutes.
The state had little to say in support of the May deadline, but argued that the plaintiffs Constitution Party and Green Party could not have succeeded in getting on the ballot in 2012 even if they had more time. A side issue is whether the lower court should have permitted evidence-gathering. It is difficult to predict how the panel will rule. Judge Niemeyer seemed sympathetic to the state; the other two judges are difficult to predict.