organized malcontents like Al Mobely, termed-out stars like Tom McColl, and, national crusaders like Ralph Nader occasionally threaten to crash the party.
The 2005 Oregon Legislature – composed almost entirely of party stalwarts – took away the 100-plus-year-old right to both vote in a party primary and sign an independent candidate’s nominating petition.
Upset that the party-dominated legislature, for such self-serving reasons, robbed me of this political flexibility, I filed Wasson v. Bradbury, a federal suit alleging violation of my federal constitutional rights.
But, even before considering my arguments, the federal district Court declared that, because I wasn’t a candidate, and, didn’t identify any particular candidate I wished to support, I lacked a personal stake in the matter.
According to the district court, only candidates, or, those championing their cause, have the right to complain about rules governing the elections process.
The individual voter, concerned about his or her political liberty, has to wait for one of the “real” players in the political process to raise the concern.
This just seems wrong.
Besides, what if I’m right?
What if the 9th Circuit follows its recent decisions and agrees that the 2005 Oregon Legislature gave me standing when it passed the party protection law, and, the Secretary of State promised enforcement?
What if the 1st Amendment really does protect Oregonians’ right to help choose the state and local councils that run their lives, and, then, participate, directly, in the nomination of Ben Westlund for Governor, John Frohnmayer for U.S. Senate, or, Mike Bloomberg for U.S. President?
The district court probably ensured that success – if, and when, it comes – will require more than one appeal. It’s almost a given that, even if I’m right, Oregonians will have to endure this party overreaching for at least one, if not two, more election cycles.