Ken Adams, chairman of the 24th Senate District GOP Committee, has filed a notice of an appeal of the dismissal of his and his committee’s earlier suit against State Board of Elections.[read_more]
As we previously reported here, the judge in the case being heard in the Western District of Virginia early last month dismissed the original suit, along with a similar complaint from 24th District Republican Senate candidate, Dan Moxley, for lack of standing.
The issue centers around a Virginia law that allows incumbent members of the General Assembly to choose the method by which they will be re-nominated, either via a party-run process or via a state-run primary that is open to members of other political parties. Adams and the 24th District GOP Committee argued that a state law that operates to force the Republican Party to accept a process that allows Democrats and other non-Republicans to participate constitutes a violation of their First Amendment rights to free association. Moxley, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta) argued that allowing an incumbent the special privilege of choosing the nomination method most beneficial to him/her, to the detriment of other citizens, constitutes unequal treatment under the law, and thus a violation of the Equal Protection guarantees of the 14th Amendment.
The judge in the suit, citing a provision of the Republican Party of Virginia rules that gives legislative district committees the authority to choose nomination methods ““where permitted to do so by Virginia law,” ruled that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue the State Board of Elections to enjoin the pending state-run primary in the 24th District. She reasoned that, because of this language in its rules, the Republican Party had acceded voluntarily to allowing open primaries to be chosen.
The Bull Elephant understands the the Adams appeal will likely be based on other language in the GOP rules that the plaintiffs will argue the judge failed to account for in her ruling. We understand additional details will be forthcoming soon, both from Adams and potentially from Moxley. The precise relief being requested by the plaintiffs on appeal is not clear, but given the timing, it seems unlikely to disturb the scheduled state-run primary designated by the incumbent Sen. Hanger and scheduled to be held June 9.
The formal notice of Adams’ and the 24th District Committee’s appeal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is below.