On January 13, 2015, two individuals who had previously run for President filed a petition for cert with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to rule that California election officials have a constitutional duty to investigate the constitutional qualifications of presidential candidates before listing them on the ballot. The two individuals who filed the case are John Albert Dummett, Jr., and Edward C. Noonan. Dummett had declared for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and is also seeking the nomination in 2016. He lives in California. Edward C. Noonan, another Californian, had sought the presidential nomination of the American Independent Party in 2012. The case is Dummett v Padilla, 14-826.
The cert petition takes pains to say that the case is not about President Obama, and that the issue of presidential constitutional qualifications is unsettled law that the Court should settle for the sake of future elections. California’s Secretary of State kept some minor party presidential candidates off the 2012 presidential primary ballots because of constitutional qualification concerns, yet refused to investigate the qualifications of some major party presidential candidates in both 2008 and 2012. The problem for lawsuits like this one is that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to reject electoral votes cast for ineligible presidential candidates. Page 26 of the cert petition says, “After a general election has occurred, it is unrealistic to expect that objections will be lodged by Members of Congress based on the constitutional eligibility of a candidate.”
This particular case was filed in California state courts. The state court of appeals rejected the case last year, and the California Supreme Court refused to hear it on October 15, 2014.