Washington State Grange v. Wa. State Republican Party No. 06-713
Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party, et al.
Election Law, Government Law, Party Primaries, First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment
In California Democratic Party v. Jones, 530 U.S. 567, 585-586 (2000), this Court
specified how States could structure a top-two primary system that does not violate
the associational rights of a political party. Pursuant to the Initiative power which the
People of the State of Washington reserved to themselves in their State
Constitution, the voters of the State of Washington enacted a top-two primary law
that the Washington State Grange had drafted to comply with Jones. That law
makes the State primary a contest to select the two most popular candidates for the
November ballot - regardless of party nominations or party selection. That law also
allows candidates for certain offices to disclose on the ballot the name of the party
(if any) which that candidate personally prefers.
The Ninth Circuit invalidated this top-two primary system in its entirety, holding that
the First Amendment (applied to the States through the 14th Amendment) prohibits
a State from so allowing a candidate to disclose the name of the party he or she
personally prefers on the ballot.
Does the First Amendment prohibit top-two election systems that allow a candidate
to disclose on the ballot the name of the party he or she personally prefers?