Former presidential candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein’s lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) dismissal was upheld by Judge Janice Brown of the D.C. Circuit of Appeals on Tuesday.
The dismissal was originally decided by D.C. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer, and Brown stated that the earlier dismissal was properly decided.
Johnson and Stein, both third-party candidates, filed the lawsuit based on their improper exclusion from the televised presidential debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in 2012. They stated that their First Amendment Rights were violated and that the CPD violated antitrust laws because they have sole power to host the debates.
According to the CPD’s mission statement, their goal is to “ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates are held every four years between and among the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States.”
The CPD’s approach to selecting the candidates for debates is driven by this goal and are only chosen from those who are leading candidates.
With that said, in 2000, they adopted a policy that makes it so only those who have “a level of support” of 15 percent or more of the national electorate.
Johnson and Stein were excluded from the debates because polls showed them with less than 15 percent support.
Johnson’s lawyer, Bruce Fein, said, “We will be filing a motion for rehearing or rehearing en banc” from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Brown’s decision.
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