The lawsuit is called the “Libertarian Party of Ohio v Husted,” and its lost three times already, once at the Ohio Elections Commission and twice in court, first in Franklin County and then in U.S. District Court.
But Libertarian Party of Ohio [LPO] attorney Mark Brown of Capital Law School hopes the fourth time, this time at the U.S. Court of Appeals, will give him the break he thinks his case involving coordination and collusion between and among Gov. Kasich, the Ohio Republican Party, long-time insiders and political operatives deserves. If Brown gets his day in court, it will plow a fertile field, letting the public finally see to what extent Gov. John Kasich and some of his closest advisers and confidants went to to win a second term as governor, and a shot at running for president this year.
LPO Appeals Kasich Caper Case
On Monday, Attorney Mark Brown filed an emergency motion in the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The case, Libertarian Party of Ohio, is being appealed from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, where Judge Watson did not find in the plaintiff’s favor last Friday.
To fully understand the story and the stakes behind the case, had Gov. Kasich not won a second term in 2014, his viability to run for president would have been dead on arrival. So winning at any cost was upper most in the minds of Camp Kasich, who took a page from the Nixon era to run a dirty tricks black ops to ensure Mr. Kasich a successful re-election campaign.
In the filing, Mr. Brown asked the court to stay the judgment of District Judge Michael Watson of the District Court, grant an emergency injunction pending appeal, and/or expedite final decision in this appeal.
“Specifically, the Libertarian Party of Ohio in this Motion challenges (1) the District Court’s conclusion that Ohio’s new ballot access law for minor parties, Senate Bill 193, does not violate the federal Equal Protection Clause, and (2) that no state actor was involved in the politically-motivated conspiracy to remove the Libertarian Party of Ohio and its candidates from Ohio’s primary and general election ballots. The Libertarian Party of Ohio accordingly requests that S.B. 193 be enjoined pending appeal and that the Libertarian Party of Ohio be immediately restored as a qualified” Brown said, according to the filing.
Mr. Brown said the appeal from final judgment also includes “additional issues and reasons supporting reversal that are not included in this Emergency Motion” and “reserves the right to argue those issues and reasons in proceedings in this Court.” With an eye to this year’s presidential election and being on the General Election ballot, attorney Brown wants to the court to “expedite this appeal so that it may be fully resolved before August 10, 2016, when presidential nominations are due in Ohio.”
Should S.B. 193 be enjoined by that date, or should the Libertarian Party of Ohio otherwise be restored to the ballot based on selective enforcement by a state actor, “the Libertarian Party of Ohio will be able to qualify its presidential ticket for the November 2016 presidential election.” The bill that dissolved all minor parties—including the LPO—in Ohio and set 30,000 signatures as a floor for political parties to gather after the primary and four months before the general election to re-qualify was signed into law in late 2013 by Gov. Kasich.
Mark Brown and co-counsel Mark Kafantaris underscored the importance of S.B. 193, since it denied minor parties previously recognized rights to participate in Ohio’s primary. “By denying minor parties like the LPO primaries, S.B. 193 denies them their previously recognized right to official party membership,” the filing notes, adding, “Ohio only registers party membership through its primaries. Senate Bill 193 therefore creates two classes of political parties: those (like the Democrats and Republicans) who have members, and those (like the LPO) who do not.
“Senate Bill 193 was enacted as a partisan measure. Republican Party and assist Governor Kasich’s re-election campaign. No Democrats joined the six Republicans who co-sponsored the bill, and only one Democrat in either House voted for it,” Mr. Brown said. “In contrast, Republican support was enormous in both Houses. In the Ohio Senate, 20 of 23 Republicans supported it. In the Ohio House, 50 of 59 Republicans voted for it.”
Having won injunctive relief restoring it to the 2014 primary ballot on January 7, 2014, LPO was allowed to field candidates for its 2014 primary. Attorney Brown said following LPO being an active party again, it’s candidate for governor, Charlie Earl, a former Ohio House Member living in Bowling Green, “was sabotaged by Terry Casey (Ohio’s Chair of its Personnel Board of Review), the Kasich Campaign for Governor, and the Ohio Republican Party.”
“Without a gubernatorial candidate, Republicans knew, LPO could not re-qualify as a political party for future elections under Ohio law,” Brown notes. LPO uncovered dozens of e-mails between Casey, the Kasich Campaign, and agents of the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) establishing that the three worked together to protest Earl. LPO in April of 2015 uncovered $300,000 in payments from ORP to Felsoci’s and Casey’s lawyers on Felsoci’s and Casey’s behalf. Gregory Felsoci was a member of LPO, and found by Terry Casey with help from other Republicans.
The brief says Ohio has historically had the most restrictive ballot access laws for parties in the United States, and according to the LPO research, is among the most restrictive, if not the most restrictive, state in granting minor parties.
Mr. Brown credits the LPO with correcting Ohio’s many constitutional violations. The Libertarian Party of Ohio has won no less than four successful suits (including the preliminary relief in the present case) over the last ten years opening up Ohio’s ballots.
LPO’S legal argument:
- S.B. 193 Dissolved LPO, Stole its Primary, Prevents it From Registering Members, and Places it at a Political Disadvantage in Violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
- The Ohio Republican Party is a State Actor Guilty of Selectively Enforcing Ohio Law in Violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
- The Libertarian Party of Ohio is Threatened With Irreparable Injury.