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Appeals Court Ruling Bans 3rd Party Candidates From Presidential Debates

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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 10:23 AM
Original message
Appeals Court Ruling Bans 3rd Party Candidates From Presidential Debates
Orange County Register
June 11, 2005

Court: Debates can bar third-party hopefuls
Ruling overturns a decision that sided with disgruntled presidential candidates.

By RICHARD KEIL
Bloomberg News

The bipartisan group that organizes presidential debates had the right to exclude consumer advocate Ralph Nader and other third-party candidates from the debates in 2000, a federal appeals court ruled.
The court, reversing a judge's ruling, said the Commission on Presidential Debates could exclude Nader, then the Green Party presidential candidate, Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan and other third-party candidates from the 2000 presidential debates and ban them from sitting in the audience at the first debate in Boston.

The commission "acted not out of any preference for major-party candidates, but rather because it feared one or more third-party candidates would disrupt the debate," the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in overturning 3-0 a lower court judge's decision in the candidates' favor.

Nader had said before the Boston debate between then- Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore that he should be allowed to participate or attend in person to watch the proceedings at the University of Massachusetts.

Responding to the appellate ruling, Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said, "The decision allows the backward march of the rigged, two-party dictatorship to continue, and be funded by corporate dollars."
A federal judge had ruled for the candidates, saying their exclusion from the debates was "unrelated to a subjective or objective concern of disruption, and was therefore partisan."

http://www.ocregister.com/ocr/2005/06/11/sections/news/...
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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. Just proves what a fraud the so called two-party system is.
Must keep the corporatist elite in power no matter what. When the biggest donors to both candidates are the same, one must take note.
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Not So Sure
I'm not so sure the corporate donors are the same. Some corporations and business executives prefer donating their big bucks to the Democratic presidential candidate, others prefer the Republican candidate and many big business interests give money to both candidates and both parties.
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Court Decision Link
You can read the Appeals Court decision at this link:

http://ballot-access.org/2005/06/10/us-court-of-appeals...
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Mel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
4. Wrong wrong wrong
no matter if you hate, love, or are on the fence with Nader this is not what Democracy looks like and it's just damn wrong.

Question: Does this mean if Bernie Sanders was to run as the Independent (which he is) that Bernie would not be allowed in Presidential debates?
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. That's Exactly What It Means
The appeals court sided with the Republican controlled FEC.
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
6. Incorrect.
The ruling doesn't ban third party candidates from presidential debates. It allows the organizers of debates to include third party candidates -- or not -- as they choose.

Furthermore, there's nothing unconstitutional about it. The First Amendment guarantees that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech. Nowhere in the Constitution does it require anyone to provide anyone else with a platform upon which to exercise that freedom.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. The trouble is that the "organizers" and "platform" are owned by
the corporate (RD) party. Free speech is useful only if the government allows you to be heard. Otherwise, it's a farce.
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. So the third party candidates...
....need to either provide their own platform or get backers to provide one for them.

No one is denying third party candidates an opportunity to be heard. They're only saying that they, for whatever reason, aren't disposed to provide the time and place (and cameras and microphones). It's not unlike the fact that it's no breech of the constitutional rights of freepers when the mods here boot their sorry asses out of here. They have their own forum and no one's trying to prevent them from using it. DU simply says "Sorry, not here".

One of the huge misconceptions about the right to free speech is that anyone ought to be obligated to facilitate that right for anyone else. No one is so obligated, nor should they be.
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. Not Incorrect
Edited on Sat Jun-11-05 12:30 PM by Itsthetruth
The ruling upheld the banning of independent and/or 3rd party candidates from debates and the appeals court ruled in favor of the federal FEC which approved the banning! Now, if the appeals court had upheld the federal judges decision, the bogus "debate commission" would not be able to ban 3rd party candidates in future presidential debates.

The appeals court overturned the decision of the federal judge who had ruled in favor of 3rd party candidates and declared the banning illegal.

Read the decision.
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. I did read it.
Edited on Sat Jun-11-05 01:04 PM by WillowTree
I missed the part which says that third party candidates cannot legally participate in presidential debates. I saw nothing that says that the organizers of those debates and/or the FED may not legally include them if they want to. Can you point that passage out for me?
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Do You Agree With The Partisan Ruling?
I can't post relevant excerpts from the decision because it's in pdf format. However, the decision upheld the position of the FEC that the debate commission is non-partisan organization not controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties and therefore did not violate federal election laws when it excluded 3rd party candidates.

Now that was a partisan ruling by the appeals court! All of the evidence indicates that the debate commission was in fact controlled by the two major parties. They set it up! Do you agree with the appeals court ruling or not?
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WillowTree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Not exactly.
Edited on Sat Jun-11-05 04:04 PM by WillowTree
The appellate court held that, under the standard of deferential review, there was not sufficient evidence in this case to support a finding that the FEC's ruling was inaccurate in it's finding that CPD had reason to be concerned about possible disruption of the debate(s). See, here's the thing. The CPD can be totally partisan in its opposition to including third party candidates (and this wasn't about excluding the candidates from participating in the debate, by the way, but about barring their presence in the hall while the two major party candidates debated), but they can be very partisan and still have valid concerns that are not partisan. That, as I understand it, was what the FEC found and what the court upheld.

Do I agree with the decision? That's not easy to answer. Insofar as the justification for keeping Nader and all other third party candidates out of the hall, I lean toward thinking that it was an overreaction, most especially with regard to candidates other than Nader and Buchannan. Then again, if only those two, the two with the most name recognition and thus the two who would probably draw the most votes away from the major party candidates, had they not excluded all third party candidates, it would have given an even more partisan appearance to the decision. But in consideration of the law as stated in the decision, I'm inclined to think that the correct legal decision with regard to the specific facts at issue in the specific case at issue was probably correct.
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-05 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
7. God, ain't it swell to live in a "democracy"?
A "democracy" where only two capitalist parties are allowed.
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Itsthetruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-13-05 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
14. Seattle Post-Intelligence Editorial On Decision
Monday, June 13, 2005

Presidential Debates: The script shouldn't win
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD

What kind of debate should the United States have before it elects a president? Perhaps the word "debate" is too strong these days. Candidates for the executive office duel with slogans and occasional news conferences. The so-called debates are tepid, scripted and rarely illuminating.

Last week a federal court ruled that the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates had the right to exclude Ralph Nader and any other third-party candidate. The commission "acted not out of any preference for major-party candidates, but rather because it feared one or more third-party candidates would disrupt the debate," said the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit.

We don't agree. The threat of the debate's "disruption" was present, but manageable. Instead, it's more likely any threat of disruption increased because of the limited participation. At one debate, for example, a Green Party supporter was arrested after an act of civil disobedience.

Last year a coalition of pro-democracy organizations released a report that called for a new way of thinking. "The debates have been reduced to a series of glorified bipartisan news conferences, in which the Republican and Democratic candidates merely exchange memorized sound bites," said the report, "Deterring Democracy: How the Commission on Presidential Debates Undermines Democracy."

It's time to end the debate monopoly of the Commission on Presidential Debates and open up the process to more voices.

This country needs a real debate next time it picks a leader.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/228037_opendebate...
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