Precinct 333

Monday, October 11, 2004

Libertarian Debate Case Advances

Last week I commented on a Libertarian Party suit to stop the third presidential debate if their candidate is not included. Well, guess what. They've actually gotten a court hearing and a court order compelling Arizona State University and the Commission on Presidential Debates to respond to the suit in court tomorrow, October 12. Given that the university still has not raised private funds to cover the debate expenses makes it hard to argue that the debate will not be conducted using public funds.

I think the Libertarians have a point about the heavy-handed actions of the Commission. Get these quotes from the article.
An attorney for the university accepted service, but security guards at the commission's headquarters in Washington ordered process-servers to leave the building, Mr. Euchner said.

Indeed, Mr. Badnarik and the Green Party nominee, David Cobb, were arrested Friday night after they crossed a police line at the presidential debate in St. Louis. Mr. Badnarik said he was trying to serve the lawsuit on a representative of the debate commission. The two candidates were released after being given tickets for trespassing and refusing a reasonable order from a policeman.

In August, a federal judge in Washington sharply criticized the Federal Election Commission for ignoring evidence of bias on the part of the debate commission. Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. noted that in 2000 the debate commission gave security guards "facebooks" with pictures of third-party candidates and instructed the guards to prevent those in the photos from entering the debate venues, even with valid audience tickets. "The exclusion policy appears partisan on its face," Judge Kennedy wrote.

Seems to me that the debate commission operates in a pretty heavy-handed way. Here's hoping they get slapped down hard.


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