Commission on Presidential Debates ‘bracing for legal challenges’

Gannett News Service reports that Commission on Presidential Debates co-chairs Frank Fahrenkopf and Paul Kirk say that “with former Rep. Bob Barr and Ralph Nader mounting independent challenges from the right and left,” they are “bracing for legal challenges about who will be allowed to debate. Under the commission’s guidelines, debaters must get their names on enough state ballots to be able to win the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the White House, and to have 15 percent support in five national polls. Excluded candidates have unsuccessfully sued the commission every election since 1988, Kirk said.”

3 thoughts on “Commission on Presidential Debates ‘bracing for legal challenges’

  1. Denver Delegate

    Check out for more information about the history of the Commission on Presidential Debates … not as high-sounding as its name implies.

  2. Arthur Torrey

    I would suggest that any suits be filed ASAP – My recollection may be partially faulty, especially as I wasn’t directly involved, but my understanding was that the LPMA and / or one of the Harry Brown campaigns filed a lawsuit against one of the debates that was being held in MA. The grounds were that it violated Mass. law as an illegal “donation in kind” of “free advertising time” by the stations broadcasting the debate – in violation of campaign financing laws. Requested remedy was either a requirement that Harry be allowed in, or that the LP be given an equivalent number of prime time minutes for political advertising.

    The judge dismissed it, but the grounds were that the suit was filed only a few days before the actual debate, not in a “timely manner” – with a strong hint that IF the suit had been filed months before the debate, instead of less than a week, it would have had a good chance of succeeding…

    Didn’t necessarily strike me as a bad ruling, as a decision in our favor wouldn’t have allowed enough reasonable time for the debates folks to make accommodations for us…


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