Walker Loses Appeal on Independent Petition Deadline

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday upheld a lower court’s refusal to place accused petition fraudster Clayton G. Walker on the 2014 Senate ballot in South Dakota.

The Eighth Circuit ruling does not disappoint me in affirming the district court’s decision last fall to reject Walker’s ballot-access lawsuit. Candidates who lie on their nominating petitions should not be allowed on the ballot. Even if somewhere deep down in his tormented soul Walker had some legitimate argument for the courts, he was unable to translate it into coherent prose in his handwritten September 26, 2014, complaint.

Clayton G. Walker, complaint, Walker v. Gant, 2014.09.26, p. 5
Clayton G. Walker, complaint, Walker v. Gant, 2014.09.26, p. 5 (click to embiggen)

Walker cited a few cases but then dissolved into blurts of tyranny! and unsubstantiated allegations that  the citizen petition challenge that prompted Secretary of State Jason Gant to reject his nominating petition was invalid.

What does disappoint me is that Walker’s bumbling litigation has given the courts an excuse to say that South Dakota’s “nominating-petition deadline and signature requirement” are “reasonable” and constitutional. That conclusion, dashed off by the Eighth Circuit judges in a seemingly cursory fashion as if wanting to dispose of Walker’s moot case and handwriting as quickly as possible, does not square with a case Walker did cite, Nader v. Hazeltine (2000), in which the Eighth Circuit (including Judge Loken, who also heard Walker’s appeal) said that South Dakota could not constitutionally move the deadline for Independent presidential candidates back from August to June.

Related logic lies in Libertarians v. Kundert (1984), in which the plaintiffs successfully argued that requiring new parties to file their formation petition 120 days before the primary unconstitutionally burdens their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to vote, associate, and express themselves. Third parties, the plaintiffs argued, often form and win support based on voters’ dissatisfaction with the platforms and candidates of existing parties. Those platforms and candidates usually aren’t set until after the primary, so requiring new parties to form 120 days before the primary places an unconstitutional practical barrier to new parties’ formation and participation in elections. The same argument could be made for requiring Independents to file their petitions at the end of April, five or six weeks before the June primary tells voters just how bad their main-party choices are.

Alas, Walker’s pencil must have run out of lead. We’ll need to wait for another Independent, or maybe a Libertarian with good Underwood, to make that argument next election season.

Documents:

  1. Walker complaint, filed 2014.09.26
  2. Eighth Circuit ruling, 2015.06.04
  3. Libertarian Party v. Kundert 1984, plaintiffs’ brief, 1984.01.18.

8 Responses to Walker Loses Appeal on Independent Petition Deadline

  1. With adding names to a petition like Mickey Mouse and other cartoon characters he seemed to desire some type of political statement confronting the government rather than running for political office. I hope he gets the help he needs so he can move on with his life.

  2. Walker’s monkeyshines have consequences. His erratic politicking and self-lawyering have allowed the Eighth Circuit to place on the record a casual precedent that legislators can cite to oppose positive election reforms. Walker has vandalized the electoral system, making things worse for everyone.

  3. Cory wrote:
    >“That conclusion … does not square with a [2000] case … in which the Eighth Circuit said that South Dakota could not constitutionally move the deadline for Independent presidential candidates back from August to June… [An additional] argument could be made [regarding] requiring Independents to file their petitions at the end of April, five or six weeks before the June primary tells voters just how bad their main-party choices are… We’ll need to wait for another Independent, or maybe a Libertarian … to make that argument next election season.”

    It would probably be in the Republican Party’s interest to return the independent filing deadline to August during the 2016 legislative session, as I’m planning to expose them (and possibly sue) if they don’t. Thune doesn’t need the bad publicity, and I don’t need the expense. Just do the right thing for once, people.

  4. jesus cory, why don’t u just take three years off, study yer brains out, and get a law degree, do a “multi year “residency” at near minimum wage to get some experience? then you can add a new definition to your concept of “busy” !! :)

    Thoreau, however, said: “simplify”

  5. Leslie, my wife and I have 41 semesters of higher education between us. We’re both done paying tuition for a while. But I’ll be happy to help Kurt review and pro se arguments he sends to the court during the 2016 election.

  6. pro se is a worthy if biased endeavor!! your service to the state is undeniable.

  7. Cory wrote:
    >“But I’ll be happy to help Kurt review [any] pro se arguments he sends to the court during the 2016 election.”

    Thanks, Cory. I’m not planning to tackle the filing deadline without a licensed attorney or two (or three), but I’d definitely welcome your advice, both legal and political.

  8. Sounds like fun. Now send me some petitions from Wessington Springs! : – )