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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Rejects Appeal of Libertarians, Socialists

(CN) - The 5th Circuit dismissed as moot a lawsuit challenging the exclusion of Louisiana's Libertarian and Socialist candidates from the 2008 presidential ballot. The parties failed to meet the filing deadline, which had been extended due to Hurricane Gustav.

In the wake of the storm, Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne had extended the deadline five days for the Socialist Party and three days for the Libertarian Party.

Nonetheless, the parties failed to submit their qualifying papers by the Sept. 8 deadline, causing them to be excluded from the ballot.

They sued Dardenne, claiming he lacked the power to unilaterally set a new deadline.

As the lawsuit was pending, the 2008 election passed, prompting the district court to dismiss the challenge as moot.

The parties argued that their claim falls under the "capable of repetition, yet evading review" exception to mootness.

But the New Orleans-based appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling, citing the parties' failure to show a likelihood of repetition.

"Appellants primarily rely on evidence showing that Louisiana frequently encounters hurricanes and tropical storms during presidential qualifying periods to show that there is a reasonable expectation that the Secretary will unilaterally change filing deadlines in the future," Judge Catharina Haynes wrote.

"At most, appellants' evidence shows that the Secretary will have an opportunity to act in the same allegedly unlawful manner in the future; however, it does not show a reasonable probability that the Secretary will act in that manner if given the opportunity."

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