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ARIZONA JUDGE RULES AGAINST LIBERTARIANS IN DEBATE LAWSUIT

Submitted by Libertarian Party
Oct. 13, 2004

This could prove interesting. Some good arguments raised here. Wonder how the black-robed mafia judicicrats will worm out of it....

An Arizona Superior Court judge refused Tuesday to allow Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik into the third Bush-Kerry presidential debate -- and he rejected arguments that the debate to be held tonight at Arizona State University is being illegally financed with public funds.

David Euchner, the attorney representing the Libertarian Party of Arizona, argued that the university is violating the state constitution by giving public funds to only two of the three presidential candidates on the ballot -- President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry -- while excluding the third, Badnarik.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pendleton Gaines said the Libertarian Party waited too long to file suit. The suit naming the university and the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was filed on Oct. 1.

But filing earlier would have been impossible, said Stephen Gordon, communications director for the Badnarik campaign.

"The Washington Post reported that Bush did not even agree to debate until Sept. 20," Gordon said. "The CPD did not announce who would be excluded until Oct. 6. We did this in the most timely manner possible.

"Additionally, we filed in enough time that this hearing could have occurred earlier than the day before the debate."

In the suit, the party sought one of two possible resolutions: Either the debate could be called off unless Badnarik was included, or the 17,000 registered Libertarian voters in Arizona could be reimbursed -- since tax money was being used to fund a debate from which their candidate had been excluded.

"There are three recognized parties in Arizona, the Democrats, the Republicans and the Libertarians, and they all have the same status," Gordon said in an American Politics Today interview Tuesday night.

"There are three candidates for president on the ballot, the Democrat, the Republican and the Libertarian. But only the Libertarian, Michael Badnarik, is being excluded from the debate."

The Libertarians have been unable to find out exactly how much public money is being spent on the debate, but representatives of the university admitted that they have not received enough private donations to recoup the estimated $2.5 million spent to host the event.

Also, the Tempe City Council contributed $20,000 to help defray the costs of the debate, and that money is certainly public funds, Gordon said.

As of Tuesday night, the judge's written ruling was unavailable. However, his decision did leave the party free "to seek compensation for damages" in a civil suit, Gordon noted.

No decision has been reached as to when such a suit would be filed, or exactly who the defendants would be.

"We are considering all of our options and it is safe to assume that you may expect more actions from us over the next few days," Gordon said.


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