Our lawsuit had a great deal of merit. We challenged two things: (1) independent candidates couldn't have "independent" on the ballot for Congress and state office, and registered members of unqualified parties couldn't have their party label on the ballot; (2) at the time, write-in space remained on the ballot but no write-ins could ever be counted, even though the ballot did not warn voters that any write-ins would not be counted.
On the ballot label issue, 45 states permit "independent" on the ballot for independent candidates, and even California continues to permit "independent" on the ballot for presidential independents. California allowed the use of that label ever since government-printed ballots started (in 1891) through 2010. Three independent candidates for US House were on the November ballot in 2010 with "independent" next to their names.
Two state supreme courts, Massachusetts and Minnesota, had previously ruled the word "independent" for independent candidates cannot be banned.
I talked to most of the independent California candidates for Congress and state legislature just before the June 2012 primary. Almost all of them said they wish they could have "independent" on the ballot, since they were campaigning as independents. This includes Linda Parks in Ventura County and Chad Condit in the San Joaquin Valley, the two independent candidates who got the most publicity.
On the write-in half of the case, our position was vindicated this year when AB 1413 passed, removing write-in space from November ballots for Congress and state legislature. I opposed that idea; I would rather have left write-in space on the ballot and provided that write-ins for declared write-in candidates should be counted. But at least the legislature agreed with us that it was wrong to tempt voters to cast a write-in vote and then not count it.
No court precedent, until Field v Bowen, had ever upheld a state's refusing to print "independent" on the ballot. It is absurd to say our case was frivolous or against the public interest. Yet the case law for civil rights plaintiffs protects civil rights plaintiffs unless the lawsuit has no merit whatsoever.
My income last year was $6,000. I have no pension and my social security, after the medicare SMIB is deducted, is only $180 per month. I am living on my savings, which are gradually being eaten up. This judgment will cause me huge harm.
Please publicize this. My money would go into the pockets of Charlie Munger, one of the richest men in California. He has been paying all the legal bills to Neilsen Merksamer, the law firm representing Abel Maldonado and Californians for an Open Primary.
The whole logic of why the intervenors even needed to intervene is faulty. If our lawsuit was so weak that we must be sanctioned, obviously California's very capable Assistant Attorneys General would have defended it without the need for intervention.
PO Box 470296, San Francisco Ca 94147