Bob Barr loses Texas lawsuit to knock McCain, Obama off the ballot

Posted at Bob Barr blog

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled against us:

The Texas Supreme Court, without comment, just denied Libertarian presidential candidate’s Bob Barr attempt to keep the names John McCain and Barack Obama off the state’s November ballot.

Mr. Barr, a former GOP congressman from Georgia, had argued in legal briefs that both major parties had busted the state’s Aug. 26 deadline for certifying their presidential candidates as they would appear on the Texas ballot. Neither McCain nor Obama had been officially nominated by their party conventions by the deadline. And Sarah Palin hadn’t even been added to the GOP ticket.
But the Democratic and Republican state parties had filed official documents with the Secretary of State stating their presumed presidential candidates. The Democrats threw in Joe Biden’s name and the Republicans said they would report back with the name of their vice presidential contender, which they did.

Apparently, the Supreme Court felt that was sufficient, especially in light of the catastrophic alientation of voters if neither of the major party candidates could appear on the November ballot.

No one cares about alienation of voters when it is a Libertarian Party candidate who is kept off the ballot due to restrictive ballot access laws authored by Republicans and Democrats.

I will have a copy of the decision shortly.

22 thoughts on “Bob Barr loses Texas lawsuit to knock McCain, Obama off the ballot

  1. richardwinger

    Thanks to ThirdPartyWatch for this good reporting.

    There is only a one-word ruling so far, “Denied”. What will be fun will be reading the decision when it comes out.

  2. G.E.

    If you want to thank ThirdPartyWatch, go join the dwindling crowd and do it there… Or do you want your thanks to actually be heard by somebody?

  3. paulie cannoli Post author

    Nothing on this at Turd Potty Watch. But they did finally get around to reporting the Ron Paul endorsement of Baldwin. Or I should say Brian Holtz did, while “TPW news items” were busy hitting the snooze button.

  4. AnthonyD

    Here we go.

    I can’t wait until this thread fills up with the unmitigated glee of the purists, supposed fighters for liberty, basking in the afterglow of another setback for the Barr campaign.

    Have at it, you slugs.

  5. green in brooklyn

    ‘Catastrophic alienation of voters’ my ass. There will likely be less than 50% turnout (that’s of registered voters) in TX, which means less than 30% turnout in real terms. How is this any more catasptrophic than the other 8 or 10 major 3rd party candidates not being on the ballot?

  6. Coming Back to the LP

    This cannot be called a setback or a loss for the Barr campaign. No one ever expected the corrupt judges in the USA to make an honest legal ruling on this case. They owe their pelf and power to the Democrat and Republican parties.

    Hopefully, the opinion on this case will provide some useful fodder for future ballot access cases.

    Thank you Bob Barr for filing this case.

    The Barr campaign and the Libertarian Party are really doing a lot of good work this year for future ballot access.

  7. Ross Levin

    Disappointing. Would have been a victory for the country in general, in my opinion. It would have greatly advanced third parties (at least for the next few years, and maybe made them more legitimate in the average American’s eyes), and it would have made an Obama victory much closer to being a reality. Before you jump at my neck for saying that, I like Obama more than McCain, and I don’t see any other presidential candidate as having a realistic chance of winning at this point. That’s why I think Obama being closer to winning would be a good thing.

  8. triumph110

    What would you expect from a Republican state and a Republican Texas Supreme Court. If McCain and Obama were denied a spot on the Ballot, it would kill any chance for McCain to win enough electoral votes to win the White House. Just another Dirty Trick from the republicans. For more dirty tricks the republicans are doing to win this election see

  9. G.E.

    But if you say the right incantations in front of the state’s rulers, you will magically be allowed to live free of taxation!

  10. Thomas L. Knapp


    You write:

    “I can’t wait until this thread fills up with the unmitigated glee of the purists, supposed fighters for liberty, basking in the afterglow of another setback for the Barr campaign.”

    On the contrary.

    Barr had a good case, and he was right to pursue it. I didn’t think he would win, but I thought he was right, and that he SHOULD have won. And I hope he appeals it to the federal courts.

    I also think that pursuing it was a bright spot in a campaign dogged by bad PR.

    Tom Knapp

  11. WinstonSmith

    The sad part is there was even a precedent in Texas. I can’t wait to see the judges opinion on this. It needs to be appealed up to the Supreme Court because this is complete bull.

  12. G.E.

    Purists would only be gleeful if all the candidates were stricken from the taxpayer funded ballot.

    Barr was trying to save the taxpayer money on ink.

  13. AnthonyD


    You’re suggesting purists have some consistency in their beliefs, when I have found the opposite is the case, especially since the Barr nomination (perhaps not you).

    Every political philosophy has its religious faction, and for libertarianism, the purists are that. And they are as irriational, falsely self-assured, and emotional as any religious person.

  14. Catholic Trotskyist

    Ross, thanks for your support of Barack Obama. His constant vilification on here is very irritating. Hopefully Mike Gravel will take the same position that you took, once he has some time to think. What’s even more irritating is that people don’t realize that Obama and McCain are third party candidates also, since McCain has been endorsed by the Independence Party of New York and Obama has been endorsed by the Catholic Trotskyist Party of America and also possibly some factions of the Communist Party USA.

  15. paulie cannoli Post author

    Every political philosophy has its religious faction, and for libertarianism, the purists are that. And they are as irriational, falsely self-assured, and emotional as any religious person.

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

  16. AnthonyD


    Reformers are anything but irrational. Reformers RATIONALLY observe that politics is the art of compromise. Since compromise is a necessary part of the game, reformers seek to nominate more moderate candidates who will compromise TOWARDS liberty. That is what is important.

    Purists, on the other hand, believe that an purely voluntary society will arise out of force, which is what the voting booth is. They believe it is possible to stand on principle on the political playing field, when the entire history of human government indicates compromise comes with the territory.

    Purists are as irrational as a person who believes competitve sports are a waste of time and totally unnecessary, and consequently forms a softball and joins a league to stand around on the field and argue about it.

  17. Richard Shepard

    I am amazed at how much can be read into a single word, or that the interpretation of a one word ruling can careen off into so many tangents.

    I’m not aware that the Texas Supreme Court has any obligation to explain it’s ruling either. On the other hand, I don’t know why the case was filed in state court in the first place. It should have been started in federal court.

  18. Thomas L. Knapp


    In my experience, precisely the opposite has tended to be the case: Reformers decline to acknowledge or act upon actual data, preferring instead to stick with their pretty hypothetical models that the real world contradicts in action day in and day out.

    To put it a different way, nearly every elected or appointed libertarian of whom I’m aware has been a “purist.” The “reformers” don’t bother to get elected or appointed to office, because they’d rather sit around pissing and moaning that they couldn’t possibly do so as long as there’s a single “purist” still standing on a soapbox somewhere.

  19. AnthonyD


    Lets leave aside whether or not election to nonpartisan office prove that it was the elected’s pure libertarian postion that got him elected.

    The main problem with your argument is that if you limit your data to elected Libertarians, then you could conclude that only “purists” get elected.

    However, the problem is that you are limiting your sample to only elected Libertarians, a self-selection bias if I ever saw one. If you enlarge your sample size to ALL elected offices, then the evidence becomes overwhelming that compromise is necessary. Especially if it is your goal to move the country in a Libertarian direction. Or any particular direction, for that matter.

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