Lindsay v. Bowen, No. 13-15085 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
After plaintiff, who was twenty-seven years old at the time, was excluded from the presidential primary ballot under California law, she filed suit under the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the Twentieth Amendment. The district court dismissed the case with prejudice. The court concluded that the case was not moot because it was "capable of repetition, yet evading review." The court concluded that age requirements, like residency requirements and term limits, are neutral candidacy qualifications which the State had the right to impose; any burden on plaintiff's speech and association rights were minimal; and the burden was justified by California's asserted interest in protecting the integrity of the election process and avoiding voter confusion. The court rejected plaintiff's Equal Protection claim; because including ineligible candidates on the ballot could easily cause voter confusion, treating ineligible candidates differently from eligible ones was rationally related to the state's interest in maintaining the integrity of the election process; and the Secretary did not violate the Equal Protection Clause by excluding from the ballot candidates who are indisputably ineligible to serve, while listing those with a colorable claim of eligibility. Even if the Twentieth Amendment gave rise to a private right of action, nothing in the Twentieth Amendment states or implies that Congress has the exclusive authority to exclude a candidate with a known ineligibility from the presidential ballot. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.