Court rules excluding third-party candidates from presidential debates does not violate the First Amendment

A federal court ruled Tuesday that Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee JIll Stein’s constitutional rights were not violated when they were excluded from presidential campaigns in 2012.

The two, who also ran for president in 2016, filed suit over their exclusion from the debates, claiming the requirements for their participation in the presidential debates were unreasonably high and intended to boost the profile of the two major party nominees.

However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected their argument.

From The Hill:

“Every four years, we suffer through the celebration of democracy (and national nightmare) that is a presidential election. And, in the end, one person is selected to occupy our nation’s highest office,” wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a George W. Bush appointee who announced she would be retiring at the end of August, in the majority decision. “But in every hard-fought presidential election, there are losers. And, with quadrennial regularity, those losers turn to the courts.”


In her decision, Brown slammed the complaints as failing to “articulate a clear legal claim, let alone identify a cognizable injury.”


“To make matters worse,” she adds, “the complaint omits entirely any allegation of government action [to suppress First Amendment rights], focusing entirely on the actions of the non-profit defendants,” referring to the non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates.