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Barr v. Galvin, 09-2426

By FindLaw Staff on November 16, 2010 3:31 PM

Libertarian party candidates' suit against Massachusetts Secretary of State for refusal to include them on the statewide ballot for president and vice-president in the 2008 general election

Barr v. Galvin, 09-2426, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff-candidates, in a suit brought by the candidates of the Libertarian Party against the Secretary of State of Massachusetts, challenging the Secretary's refusal to include them on the statewide ballot for president and vice-president in the 2008 general election.

First, the court held that, because most aspects of this case satisfy both prongs of the "capable of repetition, yet evading review" exception, a live dispute remains with respect to the constitutional questions at issue in this case.  Next, the court reversed the decision of the district court on the equal protection claim and vacated its decision and judgment in all other as, the Equal Protection Clause does not require the Commonwealth to afford a substitution mechanism applicable to non-party candidates.  Lastly, the court held that because both of the preconditions for Pullman abstention are satisfied in this case, the plaintiffs' claims concerning the Secretary's prior pronouncements are either moot or likely to be rendered moot by the state courts' interpretation of the statutory scheme.

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