Nader Loses Protest Over Free Legal Help to Kerry

     (CN) – Ralph Nader lacks standing to sue the lawyers he accuses of providing John Kerry’s campaign with free legal services to keep him off the 2004 ballot, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
     Nader had first gone to the Federal Election Commission with his protest that at least 95 lawyers and 53 law firms volunteered their legal services to keep him off the ballot in 18 states, and did not report the donation of their time to the commission.
     The FEC dismissed Nader’s complaint, finding no evidence of how the law firms allegedly coordinated with Kerry’s campaign to make the under-the-table contributions.
     A federal judge later sided with the commission when Nader sued, and the D.C. Circuit found last week that Nader cannot appeal because he lacks standing.
     “Nader alleges that he was ‘forced to compete’ in an ‘illegally structured campaign environment’ because his opponents were flouting election laws without suffering any consequences from the FEC,” Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for a three-judge panel. “But the cases in which we have recognized competitor standing in the electoral context highlight the problem with Nader’s argument: a favorable decision here will not redress the injuries he claims.”
     Notwithstanding Nader’s desire to “get the bad guys,” the court said it cannot provide any relief that would reverse the harms Nader claims to have suffered
     with the 2004 election long over.
     “Nader might have been able to establish standing as a competitor if he had shown that the FEC’s determination injured his ability to fight the next election,” the six-page opinion states. “But even though Nader has not ruled out another foray into electoral politics, his statements on the matter are too speculative to provide the basis for an injury to his competitive interests.”
     “Nader asserts an injury that is not sufficiently concrete to confer standing,” Griffith added.

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