Our America Initiative to Appeal Commission on Presidential Debates Decision

The Jack News:

September 6, 2017, Salt Lake City – Pledging to take the fight to the Supreme Court if necessary, officials with the Our America Initiative plan to appeal an August 29 decision by the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeals court decision upheld an earlier dismissal of Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates, a lawsuit challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates and its exclusion of qualified candidates other than the Republican and Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees.

The lawsuit, filed by former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and others, and supported by the nonprofit Our America Initiative, contends that the private Commission on Presidential Debates represents an unfair and illegal monopoly that gives partisan advantage to the Republican and Democratic national parties and their nominees.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, led by Bruce Fein, plan to file a Petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc by September 28, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. If that petition is denied, Our America’s legal team plans to file a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court.

Announcing the planned appeal, Our America Honorary Board Member Jim Gray said, “We have never expected this to be a quick or easy fight. The two so-called major parties have succeeded in making the private, partisan Commission on Presidential Debates so entrenched that dislodging their control is extremely difficult.

“However, the stakes are simply too high to do anything less than pursue every legal option we have in order to not only win the legal battle, but to continue to strip away the veneer covering what is a clearly rigged debate process. To change policies in America, we must change the politics. And to change the politics, we must give voters real choices. Making the debates fair and open to all qualified candidates is a critical to providing those choices.”

(Photo of supporters of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson rally in front of the Commission on Presidential Debates on September 30, 2016, in Washington, by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

6 thoughts on “Our America Initiative to Appeal Commission on Presidential Debates Decision

  1. Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

    The original Debates, moderated by the League of Women Voters, was private. In 1992 the League was on board for a Debate Tournament, running on a TV network run by Libertarians who had laid out one on one debates for ALL of the candidates, there were 64 that year invited by PhoneVoter TV Network. There were four transponders on two satellites with coast – to – coast distribution. That was when the unholy alliance of Dems and Reps stepped in to control the podium. Since, as Libertarians, we want a freedom (free-Market) approach to everything, may I suggest that spending money on an issue of forcing private organizations, even those which are clearly fascist, as is the present ‘Presidential Debate Commission,” muddies the issue and wastes resources. The present commission is PRIVATE, not a government entity. Read about what happened at: http://www.congressionalclearinghouse.com/pv-story

    Walter Cronkite called it, “A fraud on the American People.”

  2. Andy

    I do not buy the private argument for these debates. They are for a public office, they use taxpayer funds (one example is the police protection), they are held (it at least they are usually held) at taxpayer supported/owned property (like colleges), and the Commission on Presidential Debates is set up as a tax exempt organization, and part of the criteria for this tax exempt status is that they are supposed to operate in a non-partisan manner, not a bi-partisan manner.

  3. V for Vagina

    USSC has a high filing fee and hasn’t taken a third party case since the early 90s, so knowing this, it’s more of a fundraising mission than anything else at this point (if it wasn’t all along).

  4. Richard Winger

    The case isn’t going to the US Supreme Court. It is going to the US Court of Appeals, DC circuit, an appeal to all the full-time justices. The two justices in the majority cannot vote on the petition for rehearing because they aren’t full-time, so the rehearing request is entirely rational and not at all hopeless.

  5. V for Vagina

    Richard,

    Thanks for pointing that out. They do mention the possibility of going to the Supreme Court though,

    “Attorneys for the plaintiffs, led by Bruce Fein, plan to file a Petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc by September 28, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. If that petition is denied, Our America’s legal team plans to file a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court.”

    Gina

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