On the afternoon of September 7, U.S. District Court Judge Paul D. Borman issued this 25-page opinion in Libertarian Party of Michigan v Ruth Johnson, eastern district, 12-cv-12782. He had ruled the day before that the Libertarian Party has lost this case, but only on September 7 did his opinion explain why.
The decision implies on page 17 that the precedent set in 1980 by John B. Anderson, who ran in Michigan’s presidential primary and also ran as a minor party nominee, doesn’t apply because Anderson’s name wasn’t on the Republican primary ballot in Michigan. But, that implication is mistaken. Anderson’s name did appear on the Republican presidential primary ballot in 1980 and his votes were counted. The decision says that the Michigan Supreme Court had removed Anderson’s name from the 1980 presidential primary ballot. Because this writer is on vacation, and has no access to his home files or a law library, this assertion must remain a mystery for a few days, unless someone else has more information. UPDATE: thanks to all the helpful information from the commenters, it is now known that the Michigan Supreme Court refused to remove John Anderson from the May 20 Republican presidential primary ballot in 1980. Therefore, the U.S. District Court decision of September 7 has a severe flaw. The party has filed a notice of appeal to the Sixth Circuit. John Anderson appeared on the primary ballot and polled 48,947 votes, 8% of the total. And he also appeared on the November ballot that year in Michigan as a minor party nominee. Furthermore, there was a procedure for independent presidential candidates to appear on the Michigan ballot in November. Eugene McCarthy qualified as an independent in 1976 in Michigan and Gus Hall qualified as an independent in Michigan in 1980. McCarthy made up his own independent petition and the U.S. District Court said that was a valid method for independent candidates to get on the ballot. Thus, the U.S. District Court is also wrong on that point.
The decision denies that the presidential elector candidates are the true candidates. This is simply contrary to the law of Michigan and of every state, and also ignores the clear language of federal law, that states elect presidential electors on the first Tuesday followed by the first Monday of November in years divisible by four. The decision ignores the language in Anderson v Celebrezze that says states have a diminished interest in enforcing “sore loser” laws in presidential elections than in other elections. It also ignores the 6th circuit decision in LaRouche v Austin, an unreported 1984 decision that says the same thing more explicitly.
The decision does say on page 22, “Nor is defendant Libertarian Party of Michigan prevented from nominating the candidate of its choice, but only prevented from nominating one of the handful of candidates who choose to run for a different political party in the primary race.” This implies that Michigan must honor the Libertarian Party’s request to print the name of Gary E. Johnson of Austin, Texas, on the November ballot, if indeed Gary Johnson of New Mexico is not permitted to run.