New Jersey Judge says being kept out of a debate is not harmful

On September 19, New Jersey Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jeff Pawlowski filed a lawsuit against a public TV station that planned to invite only the Democratic and Republican nominees for Governor. On September 20 a judge in Middlesex County Superior Court denied injunctive relief on the grounds that Pawlowski would not suffer “irreparable harm” if he were omitted from the debate. Pawlowski v New Jersey Network. Pawlowski’s lawsuit was strong, because the US Supreme Court had ruled in Arkansas Educational TV Foundation v Forbes that public TV cannot avoid inviting all candidates with a real campaign into its debates. Pawlowski already raised $300,000 for his campaign and met the threshold to be invited into the debate sponsored by the State Campaign Finance Division. However, that is a hollow victory, since the Democratic and Republican nominees are not attending that debate. Pawlowski is not appealing, since it’s too late. There is a chance there will be some League of Women Voters 4-candidate debates.

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  1. Is the harm then reparable, that is, can they get damages? In the longer term, getting damages has more deterrant effect than getting injunctions. But the same judge who denied injunctive relief may have some other excuse for not allowing damages, sigh.

  2. Perhaps it is true the plaintiff did not suffer harm.
    He can continue being a free and rational person, but the citizens, taxpayers, and voters of New Jersey certainly will suffer, being again misled that their only choices are Fascist Party A and Fascist Party B, or Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.
    Here is another judge who needs some basic instruction in human rights and legal morality.
    I’d guess he’s a shoo-in for the U.S. Supreme Court.

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