Green Party of TN v. Hargett, No. 13-5975 (6th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
The Green Party of Tennessee and the Constitution Party of Tennessee sought to appear on general election ballots as minor political parties. They filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, challenging laws that they claimed have unconstitutionally impeded their access to the ballot. The district court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs; the Sixth Circuit reversed and remanded, in part because Tennessee had amended the statutes at issue. On remand, the district court again granted the plaintiffs’ motion. The Sixth Circuit reversed in part, first holding that the plaintiffs had standing to challenge Tennessee’s election laws, but held that summary judgment was inappropriate. The court remanded the questions of whether the state’s ballot-access scheme for minor political parties unconstitutionally burdens the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights and whether the state’s preferential ballot-ordering statute impermissibly discriminates against minor political parties in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs are a prevailing party entitled to attorney’s fees, but the court vacated the district court’s fee award and remanded for recalculation.