Sixth Circuit Upholds 2008 Action of Tennessee Democratic Party in Unseating Primary Winner

On July 5, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a 3-page ruling in Kurita v The State Primary Board of the Tennessee Democratic Party, upholding the action of the Tennessee Democratic Party in 2008 and also upholding the U.S. District Court decision of 2008. The incumbent Democratic State Senator, Rosalind Kurita, had won the primary, although by only 19 votes. But the party decertified her as its nominee, and instead nominated the runner-up. The party was hostile to her because she had voted for a Republican for Senate President. Also the Democratic Party charged that some of the voters in the Democratic primary were Republicans. Tennessee has open primaries.

The Sixth Circit decision has almost no original content, and on the merits, merely says that the U.S. District Court decision was correct. The implications of this decision are significant, because the U.S. District Court decision only covered Tennessee, but the 6th circuit decision will also control future similar disputes in Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky, which are the other states in the Sixth Circuit. Thanks to Jim Riley for this news.

7 comments

  1. Jeff Becker · · Reply

    Wonder if they’ll try this tactic with Mark Clayton. http://www.tennessean.com/article/20120803/NEWS02/308030124

  2. Nick Kruse · · Reply

    This ruling allows party bosses to overrule the vote of the people in a primary. This sets a bad precedent.

  3. This kind of thing is why people hate politicians. A political party either nominates its candidates in a primary or it doesn’t. I’m not saying that a political party has to endorse a candidate that doesn’t share its values or use its resourses to promote their candidacy, but to remove them from the ballot goes a little to far for me. If a political party wants to have candidates that are ideologically pure, nominate them behind closed doors in a back room, otherwise they need to learn to live with the decisions made by their primary voters.

  4. An Alabama Independent · · Reply

    I agree with Gerard Davis.

  5. Demo Rep · · Reply

    One more mess for SCOTUS to clean up — due to the EVIL appointed party hack robot judges in the 6th Circuit ??? Duh.

    See the appointed party hack robot judges in the super- leftwing liberal 9th Circuit being routinely reversed by SCOTUS.

  6. Richard Kelley · · Reply

    The comments above miss the point of the decision. The primary which made the initial choice allowed Republicans to vote on who should be the Democratic nominee. Small and new parties have always and rightly opposed election laws that enabled adherents of other parties to influence their candidate selections. The same principle applies here.

  7. Jim Riley · · Reply

    How did they determine that Republicans had voted in the primary? Why weren’t they challenged before they voted?

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