US Supreme Court refuses to hear ballot access case brought by SEP
By Jerome White
6 June 2006
The US Supreme Court on June 1 rejected a petition brought by the Socialist Equality Party’s 2004 congressional candidate in Ohio challenging that state’s discriminatory filing deadline for independent congressional candidates.
Despite the fundamental constitutional issues involved in the case, the Supreme Court, without any explanation, refused to hear David Lawrence v. J. Kenneth Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State. For an appeal to be heard by the high court, only four of the nine justices need agree to consider the case.
Attorneys for David Lawrence, the SEP candidate for US Congress in the 1st District of Ohio, which includes Cincinnati, appealed the case to the nation’s highest court after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld Ohio’s March 1 deadline, which forces independent candidates to circulate nominating petitions during the winter months and before the Democrats and Republicans have held state primaries to choose their candidates.
A three-judge court of appeals panel ruled on Lawrence v. Blackwell on November 29, 2005. In issuing its decision, the appeals court panel—made up of two Bush appointees and one judge appointed by Clinton—actually claimed that third-party candidates would be given an “unfair advantage” over the two major parties if Ohio moved the deadline and gave independents more time to petition for ballot access.