Green Party of TN v. Hargett, No. 12-5271 (6th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Minor political parties sought ballot access (Green Party of Tennessee and Constitution Party of Tennessee) and sued, alleging that requirements to qualify for the Tennessee ballot as a “recognized minor party” were overly restrictive and impermissibly burdened First Amendment rights and were unconstitutionally vague and constituted improper delegation of legislative authority; that provisions governing the order in which political parties are listed on the general-election ballot violate the Equal Protection Clause; and that prohibition on the use of the words “independent” and “nonpartisan” in minor-party names contravenes the First Amendment. The district court granted plaintiffs summary judgment on all claims, enjoined enforcement, ordered that the plaintiffs be placed on the November 2012 ballot, and directed the state to conduct random drawing to determine the order in which each party would appear on the ballot. The Sixth Circuit granted a stay with respect to the random-public-drawing. In the meantime, the Tennessee General Assembly amended some, but not all, of the invalidated provisions, relaxing the requirements. The Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that the district court erred on some claims, that some claims were moot, and that the trial court should initially determine the validity of the amendments.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on August 9, 2012.