May 07 2012

Judge James R. Browning Dies; Was Consistent Supporter of Fair Ballot Access Laws

Source: Ballot Access News

On May 5, Judge James R. Browning of the 9th circuit died, at the age of 93. See this story. Judge Browning consistently ruled in favor of the ability of minor parties and independent candidates to gain access for the ballot. In 1985, he wrote the decision in Socialist Workers Party v Secretary of State of Washington, 765 F.2d 1417, which struck down Washington state’s law requiring minor party and independent candidates to poll at least 1% of the vote in the blanket primary, as a condition of appearing on the November ballot. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed that in 1986 in Munro v Socialist Workers Party. Judge Browning also voted to strike down California’s ballot access law for newly-qualifying parties, in a case decided in 1976.

Judge Browning was chief judge of the 9th circuit for many years. The 9th circuit courthouse in San Francisco is named for him. Thanks to Howard Bashman for the link.

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