On May 22, U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson granted injunctive relief to the Constitution Party and the Justice Party, against California’s January deadline for newly-qualifying parties to get on the ballot. The case is California Justice Committee, et al v Bowen, 2:12cv03956. Here is the order.
Injunctive relief can only be granted when there is a substantial likelihood that the challenged law is unconstitutional. It is likely that in the near future, the California deadline will be held unconstitutional and the legislature will need to write a better law. This is the first ballot access law affecting minor parties and independent candidates in California that has been either enjoined or declared unconstitutional since 1988. In 1988, a U.S. District Court struck down California’s old 60-day period for independent presidential candidates. The legislature then expanded it to 105 days.
This new California development will assist similar deadline lawsuits now pending in Oklahoma, Alabama, North Carolina, Montana, and New Mexico. It will also help to retain the victory already won against Ohio, where the state legislature is still appealing. UPDATE: here is a press release about the decision.