Presidential Debate

Gary Johnson Debate Lawsuit Lawyer Bruce Fein Reacts to Lawsuit Dismissal: "At Least a Half-dozen Stupendous Legal Errors in Judge Collyer's Opinion"

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As Matt Welch reported this morning, one of the lawsuits by which the Libertarian and Green Parties hoped to get into the Commission on Presidential Debates debate was tossed by Judge Rosemary Collyer of U.S. District Court in D.C.

Among other arguments, Collyer does not accept the suit's novel argument that controlling access to the presidential debate represents, as I've previously reported on the suit, illegal domination of "cognizable 'presidential elections market' [and] cognizable 'political campaign market' for purposes of the antitrust laws."

Part of Collyer's decision states:

But calling political activity a "market place" does not make it so. Plaintiffs make no attempt to define what they mean by presidential debates, elections, and politics "markets." Their vague reference to "markets" is insufficient to allege injury to competition in any particular market…..As with holding political office, running for political office is not "commerce" under antitrust law…Because they have failed to assert an antitrust injury, Plaintiffs lack antitrust standing.

Bruce Fein, a lawyer in the case, said in an email this morning that "We believe there are at least a half-dozen stupendous legal errors in Judge Collyer's opinion ranging from the relevance of expert commentators to business injury proximately caused by Defendants to Plaintiffs' campaigns for the presidency to the invention of a wholesale political activities exemption from the antitrust laws which ignores the obvious that campaigning for the White House is both business and politics at the same time.

"The two categories are not mutually exclusive," Fein insists. Beyond that, "We will have nothing more to say until we discuss the matter with our clients."

The Johnson/Weld campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Will update or post further if they do.

As far as I know, a second separate lawsuit with the intention of getting into the debate is still in process. That suit is against the Federal Elections Commission, very roughly arguing that the Court should "grant summary judgment for Plaintiffs, and direct the FEC to do its job, which is to enforce the law and put an end to the CPD's biased, anti-democratic, and fundamentally corrupt and exclusionary polling rule."

Much more detail on that suit, also in D.C. District Court, here.

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  1. This is for the best. Without the opportunity to make a fool of himself on a national stage, GayJay can siphon off a few more Hitlery votes thereby helping Trump run up the electoral college scoreboard.

    1. I have to ask, in all honesty, were you born with your head stuffed up your ass or did you have to work it in there next to Trump’s cock?

      1. It really is beginning to become Buttplug’s obsession for Bush level pathetic. And I’m usually(USUALLY)not one for shit talking but for fuck’s sake dude, play another song already.

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  2. This is for the best. Without the opportunity to make a fool of himself on a national stage, GayJay can siphon off a few more Hitlery votes thereby helping Trump run up the electoral college scoreboard.

  3. Well, I suppose Johnson’s position on public accommodation is consistent with participating in this rather absurd lawsuit.

    1. Yes, well said. Just being for legalizing pot (what about all other substances Gary?) doesn’t make you a libertarian.

      1. He’s also for gradually trimming SS payments to bring SS into balance.

  4. “”Gary Johnson Debate Lawsuit Lawyer Bruce Fein Reacts to Lawsuit Dismissal””

    I swear i’m going to become a headline-editor someday. there’s got to be a better way.

    1. Ok, I missed the earlier “Judge Quashes Gary Johnson/Jill Stein Debate Lawsuit””

      still. ouch.

    2. “Fein Can’t Get Johnson In”

      “Fein with Johnson”

    3. How about “Johnson Denied Entry”?

  5. Link at the end does not seem to work.

    1. Thanks; that should be fixed if you refresh.

  6. Bruce Fein, a lawyer in the case, said in an email this morning that “We believe there are at least a half-dozen stupendous legal errors in Judge Collyer’s opinion ranging from the relevance of expert commentators to business injury proximately caused by Defendants to Plaintiffs’ campaigns for the presidency to the invention of a wholesale political activities exemption from the antitrust laws which ignores the obvious that campaigning for the White House is both business and politics at the same time.

    Needs MOAR WOODCHIPPERS!

  7. Campaigning for the White House may be business, but the people involved get paid the same no matter how or where the candidate is received. So I don’t think injury can be shown thataway.

    1. So stockbrokers don’t engage in commerce?

  8. What if we applied extreme pressure on the individuals involved with the debate? Notably the moderator(s)–making a public issue out of their complicity in undermining the democratic process by facilitating a debate with only two parties? Figureing out all the other staff involved in producing the debate and applying the same pressure on them, after the debate if necessary?

    I think you could get traction with the public calling this a moral issue and calling out everyone who’s guilty. It may be too late for Gary this time around, but maybe the social media stars are aligned well enough now that this may finally be a workable market-based approach to solving the problem.

    1. The CPD ‘staff’ involved with producing the debate(s) is minimal, and works only for the Duopoly. Executive Director Janet Brown has been there since the beginning in 1988. She has an assistant, I suspect she has been with her since the beginning. At least one former intern, now Boston lawyer, volunteers his time for the legal work. A production company is hired to do all the production. End of staffing.They lock up and go into hiding at the end of the debate cycle.

      At least one of the moderators was attacked via social media in 2014, to the best of my knowledge she never acknowledged any of it.

      You would have to start early, and get a real shame game going. Chances for success are better this year than ever before, because the media more or less doesn’t want Trump.

      I know a few more details, PM me if you are interested.

    2. Pressure the networks to run their own debates, or lower the entry level to 5%.

      If Johnson doesn’t get in this time, no third party candidate ever will.

  9. I think the reason the CPD is important is that a lot of people watch their debates, and the reason lots of people watch their debates is that they’re interested in what the major-party candidates have to say. They’re not automatically as interested in what 3rd party candidates have to say.

    This fact can’t be legislated out of existence, or blamed on the Dems and Reps who take advantage of their (admittedly mysterious) popularity to sponsor these joint press conferences.

    Instead, I say reframe the whole issue and promote fairer debates with some 3rd party candidates included. Invite Trump and Hillary, have celebrities volunteer to defend them if they don’t show up on their own behalves. Or have a prominent empty chair or whatever.

    Throw in some nude jello wrestling or big-name celebs or whatever it takes to get a skeptical public to take a look. Then make the debates good enough that the public will keep tuning in.

    Just dig under and around the CPD, don’t pretend like they’re this magical gatekeeper without which you can’t get in front of the public.

    1. Undermine and mock the CPD until it either capitulates or becomes irrelevant.

    2. That’s a good idea. Don’t call it anything but a presidential debate and summon credible stand-ins. It would be a good trial-run for a politician/celebrity who wants some attention, if you can be sure they’d be honest stand-ins.

      1. Some hopeful on both sides would stand up. They’re narcissistic. It’s natural.

      2. With Clinton, you don’t even need an honest stand-in.

    3. Trump and Hillary nude jello wrestling trips the ewww meter.

    4. Just don’t have it on Stossel with a studio audience of 50 people and 30-second answers and a lot of wedding cake questions. Hire a big time moderator and fill an arena.

  10. This will stop when a third party candidate refuses to be excluded from the debates and either forces his/her way in or occupies the venue ahead of time with a large number of armed supporters. Unfortunately, neither Johnson nor Stein seems willing to do such a thing.

    Of course this would attract all sorts of attention from the media, as well as the SS, FBI, and other alphabet soup agencies. I expect that this would either go down like the Bundy standoff of 2014 where the armed supporters got what they wanted, or there would be a large battle and the debate would not occur at all. Both are positive outcomes in my view.

  11. This plays into an “outsider” narrative. Judo it.

  12. If Trump is president, he’ll nominate a true conservative SC justice who will end this sort of nonsense.

    If you want to help Johnson’s chances in 2020, you have to vote for Trump.

    Trump 2016

    1. I don’t know any serious people who would consider voting for Trump.

    2. Are you sure? According to my conservative cousin in Oklahoma, Trump is a communist and a liberal infiltrator. I see no reason to believe that Trump would nominate conservative justices.

  13. I’m being serious here (ya, I know). But I really am. How exactly is it Libertarian for GayJay to sue to get invited to the debates? It’s a private organization that doesn’t want to invite him. Isn’t freedom of association an important part of Libertarian thought? If they don’t want to include him, how can he justify (from a Libertarian perspective) suing them to do so?

    1. Isn’t freedom of association an important part of Libertarian thought?

      Not for Johnson.

  14. I expect nothing but force, fraud, mendacity and violence from looters. This is why the National Guard has standing orders to shoot them. The looter courts are looking out for the visible and unproductive hands that fatten them. This is why the draft was shelved temporarily the the LP formed, followed by Roe v. Wade (back when we were pro-choice and had guts and integrity). The recent Supreme Court ban on rolling and baiting queers is more of the same–taking those potentially damaging spoiler vote triggers off the chessboard lest they embarrass ku klux republicans of the commie dems.
    And let’s face it… none of us wanted Gary and the impostor turned loose in the Octagon with free-range looter predators anyway, right? Better they kiss babies, smile and wave while our down-ballot candidates harvest those law-changing spoiler votes.

  15. As with holding political office, running for political office is not “commerce” under antitrust law..

    Holding office and running for office are not commerce (unless Hillary wins), but campaigning and competing for campaign donations is certainly commerce, and interstate commerce to boot.

  16. Libertarians Fail Effort To Force Private Organization To Change Rules To Accommodate Them

    Story at 6.

    1. The only criteria that should be necessary is if you are on the ballot in enough states to get enough electoral votes to win, otherwise anything else is set to try and limit the people’s choices to the duopoly only; as seen in conventions the criteria will change if needed to silence other parties from getting their chance on a national debate stage.

      1. In addition I’m not sure why the LP doesn’t invest in a television channel of its own with news, shows, etc. it seems competing against the other stations would be democratic way to go, unless gov is preheating them from doing so.

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  18. Funny how definitions become so restrictive all of a sudden when it doesn’t have to do with Interstate Commerce laws.

  19. Looked her up on Wikipedia and it turns out she was one of the rubber-stampers on the so-called “FISA court”.

    -jcr

  20. The Commission is the creation of the Dems and Republicans.

    It created a scenario that makes it almost impossible for anyone to challenge them and be included in the debates and, thus, let the American people decide whom we wish to vote for.

    The figure of 15% is arbitrary. Why not 50% or 5%? Why not 90% of five polls which they decide on?

    The whole thing just stinks and is totally undemocratic.

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