On June 21, both sides in Libertarian Party of Virginia v Judd filed simultaneous briefs for Summary Judgment. This means both sides agree that there is no need for a trial, and the next action will probably be a fairly quick decision from the judge. The issue is Virginia’s ban on out-of-state circulators.
The state’s brief says that the Libertarian Party successfully petitioned for President in all elections starting with 1988 in Virginia, so the party doesn’t really need any relief. The state also says that co-plaintiff Darryl Bonner, a professional petitioner who doesn’t live in Virginia and who wants to circulate in Virginia, has no real complaint either, because he is free to be accompanied by a Virginia resident. Also the state says that Bonner may not even have standing, because in a deposition he said he hurt his knee and doesn’t plan to do any work in the near future.
The state’s brief is somewhat deceptive, because it says the Libertarian Party has not had trouble in the past, yet in 1984 the Libertarian Party’s petition drive for President failed in Virginia. The state’s brief makes no claim that there is any strong state interest in banning out-of-state circulators.
The Libertarian Party’s brief emphasizes that the party may have special need for outside circulators this year, because the state legislature and the Governor, by making late changes to the U.S. House districts, deprived all petitioning parties of their normal full petitioning time. The law says the petitions may start to circulate on January 1 of the election year, but in reality that was impossible this year because the petitions must list a candidate for presidential elector from each district, and until the district lines were final, the list of elector candidates couldn’t be finalized. Of course, the Libertarian Party brief also emphasizes that the overwhelming majority of precedents on the issue hold that bans on out-of-state circulators are unconstitutional.