Skip to comments.Arizona Libertarian Party Files Suit. A Private Debate with Public funds.
Posted on 10/10/2004 7:10:41 AM PDT by o_zarkman44
On October 2, 2004, the Arizona Libertarian Party (AZLP) and Warren Severin filed a Civil Complaint against Arizona State University (ASU) and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) in Maricopa County Superior Court. Additional documentation and a press release provide additional information about this complaint. The complaint was given Case Number CV2004-019089.
The basis of the complaint is that ASU and the CPD are acting in violation of the equal protection of the laws portion of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. The complaint also states that ASU and other governmental bodies are spending money and using other public resources in a partisan political manner in violation of Article 4, Section 19-13 and Article 9, Section 7 of the Arizona Constitution.
The plaintiffs are prepared to offer evidence supporting their claim that public funds have been used in preparation for the Bush - Kerry debate, including minutes from Tempe City Council meetings and a letter written on CPD letterhead addressed to James Baker, III and Vernon Jordan. The letter is co-signed by the co-chairmen of the CPD, and states that ASU had spent substantial resources on preparation".
The complaint asks for an emergency remedy in the form of an injunction to halt the last scheduled Bush - Kerry debate.
On October 3, 2004, David Euchner, attorney for the Arizona Libertarian Party, learned that the case had been assigned to Judge Michael Yarnell, but no hearing date had been determined. Euchner mailed a copy of the complaint to both defendants.
On October 8, 2004, Euchner recieved an Order to Show Cause (OSC) (page 1, page 2) with instructions that the OSC and other related papers must be served by 4:00PM that same day, and that all defendants be immediately notified by telephone of the hearing time and date of Tuesday, October 12, at 9:00AM. The case was now assigned to Judge Pendleton Gaines.
Euchner reported that he called ASU, and they were very cooperative". He stated that the person who answered the telephone at CPD would not identify herself. When Euchner informed the CPD representative that he was attempting to serve the CPD an OCS, the person placed the telephone down and never picked it up again.
David Euchner, Stephen Gordon, Badnarik Communications Director, and Geoffrey Neale, Badnarik Operations Manager, conferred. It was determined that it was too risky, considering the late notice, to obtain and depend on traditional process servers to meet the 4:00PM deadline. Arizona Libertarians were asked to serve ASU locally, while employees and interns of the Libertarian Party national office were asked to serve the CPD in Washington, D.C.
Euchner stated, As to why we didnt use professional process servers, the reason is simple. We were concerned that a professional would not feel the same level of urgency with getting this job done immediately that we felt. In order to serve process, there is only one requirement: that the server be 18 years old and not a party to the case.
Joel Beckwith served ASU with no reported difficulties. Documentation is in the form of this affidavit and the two photographs below.
Serving CPD was much more difficult. George Getz did manage to serve the OSC. An online version of his affidavit is forthcoming.
Getz reported by e-mail, At about 2 PM ET, I hand-delivered the paper called Arizona Case Order. I talked to David [Euchner - the lead attorney in the Arizona case] immediately afterward and he said the other papers can be faxed later. I am now back at the office, and theres no one here, so Im unaware of any developments.
He also stated, But this guy was so hostile there was no way he would have signed it. He wouldnt even take it in his hand, and made me just put it on the desk instead. He wouldnt even tell me his name!?! he was just Tom. I replied, Tom, huh? Could you be more vague, Tom?
Sam New and Margaret Taylor of the national Libertarian Party attempted to serve the CPD the entire complaint and OCS, but were stopped by security guards. Audio of the serving process, as well as their affidavit, is evidence this occurred.
Stephen Gordon sent Janet Brown, Executive Director of the CPD, the OCS and complaint by e-mail. He then directed his receptionist, Jessica Caplan, to fax a copy to the CPD headquarters. Notarized affidavits were completed by Gordon and Caplan.
David Euchner sent an e-mail to Janet Brown, requesting that she confirm receipt of the documents.
These actions were completed before 4:00PM, as directed by Judge Gaines. According to Euchner, By 1:30 Arizona time, I had confirmed via telephone with George Getz, Sam New and Margaret Taylor at LPHQ, and with Warren Severin in Tempe (our individual plaintiff) that service of process was complete (ASU did not resist at all, they were congenial to the Libertarian activist who served them). I called the court and let them know and our hearing is confirmed for Tuesday morning at 9 AM.
Considering the difficulties encountered in serving the CPD, Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik also attempted to serve the complaint and OCR at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, where a CPD sponsored presidential debate was being held. At a few minutes after 8:00PM, Badnarik was arrested while making this attempt.
The hearing is scheduled for 9:00AM, October 12, 2004 in Room 814 of the East Court Building of the Maricopa County (Arizona) Superior Court. The hearing is scheduled to be no longer than one hour, with one half hour alloted to each side to make their arguments.
Arizona is one of the only states in the Union that actually recognizes the Libertarian Party as an equal party to the Dems and the Reps.
That is one of the reasons for this lawsuit, because the LP is a recognized party and has been included in statewide debates why not this one?
I honestly think a sane judge is going to have a hard time not siding with the AZLP and stopping this debate or allowing Badnarik.
If Badnarik is allowed we will see nothing but whining from the Dems and Reps, it will be a truly sad site and so will the debate because Bush and Kerry will get crushed on every issue.
When the American (non-voting) public see that there are a few people left in the country that want to fight for what is truly right, they will get off of their butts and de-throne the Bush monarchy.
Nobody can stand up and challenge the Dims and Repubs when they pick and choose the issues they want to debate and the time and place. The two major parties are basically not held responsible for anything they say, true or false.
We the people like to shop for cars and see a variety of colors and brands, but when the only lot in town is ford and chevy we tend to forget the dodges and toyotas. They too can get the job done but when they are inaccessable for comparison people tend to settle for what little they actually can compare to.
"I'm going to pile money on your issue if you elect me!"
"No, I'll pile on more money than the other guy if you elect me instead!"
And there is nobody there to say "Hey, wait a minute."