As has been previously reported, in 2011 a U.S. District Court Judge put the Ohio Libertarian Party on the ballot for the 2012 election, which caused the Ohio Secretary of State to also put other minor parties on the 2012 ballot (Americans Elect, Constitution, Green, and Socialist). The Secretary of State did not appeal the 2011 decision, but the Ohio legislature intervened in the case and appealed to the 6th Circuit. The hearing for the legislature’s appeal is set for July 24 in Cincinnati.
On July 13, the three judges who are hearing the state legislature’s appeal sent a letter to both sides, saying, “Dear Counsel, the panel assigned to hear the case on the merits is requesting a letter brief on the effect of 2012 Ohio Sess.Law Serv.105 (repealing HB 194 and restoring Ohio’s ballot access deadline for the general election to November 2011)(eff. August 15, 2012) on the above appeal. The letter brief should not exceed ten pages in length and must be filed by noon on July 20, 2012.”
This letter suggests that the three judges tend to think the state legislature’s appeal may be moot. Both sides have now filed letter briefs, responding to the Court’s letter. This provided an opportunity for the Libertarian Party to tell the court about the action of the legislature in June 2012, extending the deadline for the Democratic and Republican Parties to certify their presidential and vice-presidential candidates, but not giving similar relief to the other qualified parties. That issue is not directly related to this case, but it is relevant because the Libertarian Party’s attorney is showing that the legislature cannot be trusted to ever pass a constitutional ballot access law, and that it continues to be unreasonably hostile to minor parties.
The legislature’s brief of July 20 quotes the part of the Court’s letter that says the repeal of HB 194 restores Ohio’s ballot access deadline for the general election back to November 2011. Then, the legislature’s letter says, “This is incorrect.” Instead, the legislature says, there was no valid petition deadline back in 2011, nor is there one today. If that is true, one wonders why the legislature thinks the U.S. District Court was wrong to have put the Libertarian Party on the ballot.