In May 2012, the Constitution, Green, and Libertarian Parties filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that the unique Pennsylvania ballot access system violates the U.S. Constitution because it requires minor parties and independent candidates to risk paying court costs of over $100,000 if their statewide petitions are found invalid. Recently, the same Republican Party activists who challenged the statewide Libertarian and Constitution Parties sought to intervene in the federal lawsuit.
Here is the brief filed by the proposed intervenors. The brief does not grapple with the core issue in the lawsuit. Instead it defers to the state’s brief. Here is the state’s brief, which is mostly concerned with standing and ripeness. The state brief does attempt to deal with the main issue in the case, but it does so from the viewpoint that the existing system (in which only courts determine if a signature is valid) is to be taken as a “given.” The state’s brief misses the whole point, which is that Pennsylvania does not have a state interest in leaving the petition-checking process entirely to courts and judges. The state, and the intervenors, do not seem to notice that no other state forces state courts to be the first and only government agencies to examine petitions.