SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The 9th Circuit upheld the constitutionality of Alaska's election laws, which were challenged by the state's Independent and Libertarian parties. The parties said their Fifth Amendment rights were violated by the requirement that they participate in state-run primary elections.
They requested the option of nominating candidates at a convention.
Judge Fisher ruled that the state has a legitimate governmental interest in running the primary elections. That interest justifies a burden that may be placed on the parties' associational rights.
The primary system was enacted, Fisher wrote, "to remove party nominating decisions from the infamous 'smoke-filled rooms' and place them instead in the hands of the party's rank-and-file."
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