On April 25, U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock denied injunctive relief to the Maine Libertarian Party, in its ballot access lawsuit to become a qualified party in Maine. Libertarian Party of Maine v Dunlap, 2:16cv-0002. The 27-page order says because the Maine primary (for office other than President) is on June 14, there isn’t time to provide the party with its own primary. Twice it says “chaos” would result if the party were put on the ballot.
The judge appears to have completely missed the point that the Maine Libertarian Party wasn’t asking for a primary. In many other ballot lawsuits, courts found ballot access laws for new parties unconstitutional, but made the decision too late for a primary for that party; so the judges let such parties nominate by convention instead. The U.S. Supreme Court made such a ruling in 1968, when it put the American Independent Party on the ballot in Ohio even though it was too late to give the party a primary. At the time, the Ohio law said all parties nominate by primary.
Other courts that did the same thing include a U.S. District Court in Arkansas in 1996, for the Reform Party; a U.S. District Court in Hawaii in 1986, for the Libertarian Party; a U.S. District Court in Nebraska in 1976 for the Libertarian Party (the 8th circuit agreed with this ruling, after the election was over); a U.S. District Court in Nevada in 1986 for the Libertarian Party; an Ohio state court in 1976 for the American Independent party; a U.S. District Court in Ohio in 2008 for the Libertarian and Socialist Parties; a U.S. District Court in Oklahoma in 1984 for the Libertarian Party; and a U.S. District Court in Tennessee in 2012 for the Green and Constitution Parties. Like Maine, all of these other states had laws saying new parties must nominate by primary, but these courts still crafted relief allowing conventions instead.
The party will file a request for reconsideration. The Maine deadline for a newly-qualifying party is December 1 of the year before the election, and that was the main issue in the case.