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Ninth Circuit Remands Wash. Primary Dispute

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The 9th Circuit ordered a lower court to dismiss all but the Washington State Republican Party's claims that Initiative 872, which would let primary voters align themselves with candidates who aren't the "official" candidate of the state parties, constricts access to the ballots and appropriates the political parties' trademarks.

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, the appellate court vacated its 2006 decision allowing state Republicans to challenge the initiative on a variety of levels.

The circuit ordered the district court to dismiss all facial association rights and equal protection claims challenging Initiative 872.

It also ordered the lower court to dismiss as waived "all claims that Initiative 872 imposes illegal qualifications for federal office, sets illegal timing of federal elections or imposes discriminatory campaign finance rules because these claims were neither pled by the parties nor addressed in summary judgment."

However, the district court "may allow the parties to further develop the record with respect to the claims that Initiative 872 unconstitutionally constrains access to the ballot and appropriates the political parties' trademarks," the appellate court wrote, "to the extent these claims have not been waived or disposed of by the Supreme Court."

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