The latest news on this front comes from a really interesting article at Ballot Access News written by the widely-respected election expert and advocate for third party/independent ballot access Richard Winger. Take a look at this excerpt:
On March 8, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion in Uzuegbunam v Preczewski, 19-968. The case does not concern election law, but it could be helpful in future ballot access cases that otherwise would be rejected as moot. In the March 8, 2021 decision, a student had been prevented from speaking on the campus of Georgia Gwinnett College, except in small “free speech zones.” He sued, and then the college greatly expanded the “free speech zone”, so then the lower federal courts ruled his case was moot. The plaintiff had asked for nominal damages, but the lower courts said that didn’t save his case from being declared moot. He asked for rehearing en banc in the Eleventh Circuit, but no judge was willing to rehear the case. Thus, his case had been rejected for mootness by a dozen federal judges who had participated in the case.
However, the 8-1 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court says his case was not moot, because he had asked for nominal damages. “Nominal damages” can be as small as one dollar. The decision is by Justice Clarence Thomas. The lone dissenter is Chief Justice John Roberts.
This precedent would have been helpful in Florida in 2020, when the Party for Socialism & Liberation sued Florida over the law that says a ballot-qualified party can’t be on for president unless it is either recognized by the Federal Election Commission as a “national committee”, or unless it submits a petition signed by over 100,000 voters by July of the election year. The party failed to get injunctive relief, but it wanted to try to win declaratory relief. But then the Secretary of State surprisingly put the party’s presidential nominee, Gloria La Riva, on the November 2020 ballot, so the party dismissed the case, believing that if it maintained the case, it would be told that the case was moot.
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