April 25, 2015

Our Day in Court: Defend Democracy on Wed (2/13)

Ed. Note:  We wanted to share this important post from our friend Michael Feinstein, the former Mayor of Santa Monica, California.

Wanted: Come Defend Democracy

Where: U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Pasadena, CA

When:  Wed., Feb. 13, 2013, 9 am

What’s at stake is political voice and voter choice in California elections. This court challenge is to the heart of the undemocratic Top Two system imposed on our state in 2010. If the challenge prevails, it’s unclear whether the Top Two system will survive, and we may be able to overturn it and pursue truly democratic reforms like proportional representation. Please come to Pasadena on February 13th and attend this hearing. It’s critical that the courtroom is full of people to let the judges know we care about democracy in California.

In Chamness v. Bowen, a number of candidates and voters have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) to decide whether the Top Two Primary’s implementing law is unconstitutional. In short, does the State have the power to force candidates to lie on the ballot, or to disenfranchise people who vote for write-in candidates? The Ninth Circuit appeals court will devote a full 40 minutes of oral argument for this case – a large amount of time it reserves for only a small fraction of cases. This shows how important they are taking this and why your attendance is critical.

The Top Two Primary’s implementing law (Senate Bill 6) has violated the rights of Californians in two troubling ways. First, it violated the rights of minor-party candidates, by forcing them to falsely state on the ballot that they have. Second, Senate Bill 6 disenfranchised all voters who cast write-in votes in the general election.

The hearing will be held at 9 am, Feb. 13, 2013, in Courtroom 3 of the Richard H. Chambers Courthouse, 125 South Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California.  The courtroom opens at 9 am and the hearing is open to all members of the public. Parking is available in the lot opposite the courthouse. Please attend to stand for democracy in California!

— Michael Feinstein

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