Ralph Nader Wins Opportunity for a Jury Trial in his Lawsuit Against Democratic National Committee for 2004 Events

On September 20, a Maine Superior Court ruled that Ralph Nader’s lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee and some of its allies may proceed to a jury trial. The trial is many months away, and will be proceeded by discovery. This means that Nader’s attorneys will be able to take depositions from witnesses and defendants and learn previously unknown information about “the ballot project”, the 2004 Democratic Party plan to keep Nader off the ballot in as many states as possible. The case is Nader v The Maine Democratic Party, Washington County, Maine, macsc-cv-2009-57.

This trial is only possible because Maine has a six-year statute of limitations. The 15-page order says, “This Court is satisfied…that Plaintiffs have made a prima facie showing of both a civil conspiracy, including an ulterior motive, and the improper use of discovery and subpoenas to establish an abuse of process claim.” Here is a brief newspaper story about the order. Here is a press release from Ralph Nader’s attorneys.

22 comments

  1. Awesome, go Nader go !

  2. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    “This trial is only possible because Maine has a six-year statute of limitations.”

    2004 + 6 = 2010. This is now 2012. Have I missed something?

  3. Richard Winger · · Reply

    #2, the statute of limitations only controls when the case could be filed. It was filed in 2009.

  4. Casual Bystander · · Reply

    Thanks for clarifying, Richard.

  5. Fine job, Oliver!

  6. As I’ve been reading these updates on Ralph Nader’s lawsuits, I’ve had a question recur in my mind over and over. Forgive me if I’m woefully ignorant, but why is he wasting all of this time and money fighting over things that have happened in 2004? How would that help ballot access that much?

  7. Why is Ralph spending so much time on this? Precedent, and prophylaxis. If the Democratic Party can do it to him once, the Dems will do it in the future to whomever they please. So by pursuing the lawsuit, Ralph sets the precedent that this ballot blocking will cost the dems time and money in the future, and second, by sending that message, Ralph protects candidates in the future from such monkey-wrenching.

  8. Good luck to Ralph on this. May it set a precedent for Gary Johnson’s 2013 lawsuit against the Republican National Committee and the Mitt Romney campaign.

  9. MeanGeneDebs · · Reply

    “Former Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and former Congressman Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party are now facing what the Nader-Camejo campaign confronted in 2004,” Nader added. “Both the Democratic and the Republican parties treat the electoral process and the voters as if they own them, and they will continue to do so until Americans of all political persuasions put a stop to it by demanding a broader choice of candidates on the ballot in each election cycle.”

  10. SEbastian · · Reply

    Great news! Thank you Richard for running this story. Notice that this important story was not reported on the 6:30 national news or on the cable talk news shows. What a crime to close their eyes to. Congratulations all around to Oliver Hall and his legal staff. You guys are great. Onward.

  11. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    @ #9. The Gary Johnson and Virgil Goode campaigns aren’t facing anything even remotely comparable to the challenges and dirty tricks leveled against Ralph Nader by the Democratic Party in 2004. There’s really no comparison. Not even close.

    Libertarian and Constitution Party visitors to this site should read Theresa Amato’s “Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny,” or study the tremendous obstacles faced by the Communist Party’s Earl Browder in 1940, to understand what real ballot repression is like. Count yourselves lucky.

  12. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    Ralph, may the saints preserve him, was being generously sympathetic to the Johnson and Goode candidacies.

    The fact of the matter is that only a precious few rallied to his defense when the Democrats mercilessly challenged his independent candidacy in state after state eight years ago.

  13. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    Oliver Hall, like Mark Brown, is a genuine American hero — he’s spent much of the past eight years building this case. I’m cautiously optimistic that Nader’s lawsuit against the DNC-led conspiracy — and there’s no question that it was a well-orchestrated conspiratorial attempt to deny Nader a spot on the ballot in as many jurisdictions as possible — will prevail in a jury trial.

    Needless to say, such a verdict would have a chilling effect on either, or both, of our nation’s major parties in any future attempts to limit voter choice.

    It will also strike a resounding blow for the cause of open politics in this country.

  14. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    A number of self-identified Libertarians have had some pretty nasty things to say about Ralph Nader over the years. It’s funny how some of them suddenly like him, or at least grudgingly appreciate his efforts, when their own candidate faces a tiny taste of what he had to endure in 2004.

  15. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    Sorry, but I couldn’t resist that last comment against the self-interested crowd that identifies itself as libertarian — the so-called “me, my, mine crowd”… the self-centered folks who don’t give a damn about anybody else, those who dream of a world revolving solely around themselves.

  16. Richard Winger · · Reply

    I’m not aware of any Libertarian Party leaders or activists who have said anything “nasty” about Ralph Nader over the years. Maybe some small-l Republican Party members who call themselves libertarians did, though.

    Republican Party hostility to Libertarian Party ballot placement in 2012 exceeded the Democratic hostility toward John Anderson in 1980. In 2012, Libertarians faced challenges, or attempted challenges, by Republican activists or partisan Republican election officials in 7 states: Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

  17. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    You should read some of the blogs, Richard. There have been several negative comments posted about Nader over the past five or more years by Libertarians.

    That’s their preprogative, I suppose, but there have been quite a few comments besmirching Nader’s reputation… Whether you’re aware of any such comments is really irrelevant.

    The GOP challenges to the LP petitions in Iowa, Ohio and Virginia this cycle — all of which, on their face, were frivolous in nature — paled in comparison to the seriousness of the myriad of challenges Nader routinely faced in 2004. And I think you know that.

  18. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    Speaking of New Hampshire, why did the Libertarian Party spend so much money on the petition drive in the Granite State? It seems like ballot access for Gary Johnson could have been achieved for far less.

  19. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    “Republican Party hostility to Libertarian Party ballot placement in 2012 exceeded the Democratic hostility toward John Anderson in 1980. In 2012, Libertarians faced challenges, or attempted challenges, by Republican activists or partisan Republican election officials in 7 states: Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.”

    I thought this was a thread on Ralph Nader’s candidacy in 2004. Who mentioned Rep. Anderson’s candidacy? That’s an entirely different subject.

  20. Darcy G Richardson · · Reply

    You’re so partisan it isn’t funny, Richard. Your attempt to compare the frivolous challenges to Gary Johnson’s candidacy to those of Ralph Nader in 2004 is absolutely ludicrous.

  21. #18, the Libertarian Party did the New Hampshire party petition because the Secretary of State’s Chief Deputy signed an affidavit in the 2008 litigation saying a group that does the party petition gets its own party column.

    So the New Hampshire Libertarian Party did the party petition, and this year the Secretary of State still will won’t give it its own party column. If the Libertarian Party had its own column this year, that column would be listed first on the ballot in one-third of the precincts. That would hugely help the party to poll 4% for Governor, which is the only way this year that it can get its party status back.

    Darcy and I agree that the worst attack on any minor party or independent presidential petition in history was the attack on Earl Browder in 1940, followed by the Ralph Nader 2004 experience. I think Darcy agrees with me that the 2012 Gary Johnson attacks are the third worst. They were not frivolous and have actually worked so far in Michigan and Oklahoma. The Iowa challenge was certainly not frivolous and the objectors had some strong points. The New Hampshire challenge, which was not publicized, was that the party circulated the party petition in the odd year before the election, and the law does say that petitions in general cannot be circulated except in the election year. The Virginia challenge, based on notary technicalities, was the only frivolous challenge of the seven. Ohio wasn’t frivolous because so far the federal courts have been letting Ohio interpret its sore loser law far beyond the bounds of what the law actually says. See the horrible outcome with this year’s independent candidate for the legislature in Ohio, Greg Jolivette. He lost in the 6th circuit and was kept off even though he is not a sore loser, he just had too much prior association with the Republican Party.

  22. >>Darcy and I agree that the worst attack on any minor party or independent presidential petition in history was the attack on Earl Browder in 1940…

    Petitions aside, Browder didn’t have it nearly as tough as Huey Long did when, in 1935, he made clear he was getting ready for the 1936 election.

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