September 6, 2017, Salt Lake City – Pledging to take the fight to the Supreme Court if necessary, officials with the Our America Initiative plan to appeal an August 29 decision by the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeals court decision upheld an earlier dismissal of Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates, a lawsuit challenging the Commission on Presidential Debates and its exclusion of qualified candidates other than the Republican and Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominees.
The lawsuit, filed by former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, Green Party candidate Jill Stein and others, and supported by the nonprofit Our America Initiative, contends that the private Commission on Presidential Debates represents an unfair and illegal monopoly that gives partisan advantage to the Republican and Democratic national parties and their nominees.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs, led by Bruce Fein, plan to file a Petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc by September 28, pursuant to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. If that petition is denied, Our America’s legal team plans to file a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court.
Announcing the planned appeal, Our America Honorary Board Member Jim Gray said, “We have never expected this to be a quick or easy fight. The two so-called major parties have succeeded in making the private, partisan Commission on Presidential Debates so entrenched that dislodging their control is extremely difficult.
“However, the stakes are simply too high to do anything less than pursue every legal option we have in order to not only win the legal battle, but to continue to strip away the veneer covering what is a clearly rigged debate process. To change policies in America, we must change the politics. And to change the politics, we must give voters real choices. Making the debates fair and open to all qualified candidates is a critical to providing those choices.”
(Photo of supporters of Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson rally in front of the Commission on Presidential Debates on September 30, 2016, in Washington, by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)