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Friday, November 15, 2013
FULL TEXT: Judge Upholds Hawaii Open Primary, Rules Against Democrats
By News Release @ 12:00 AM :: 4745 Views :: Democratic Party, Office of Elections

ORDER (1) DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT; (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION; AND (3) GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

The court upholds Hawaii’s open primary election against this facial constitutional challenge.

The Democratic Party of Hawaii (“DPH”) challenges the constitutionality of Hawaii’s open primary election, contending that article II, § 4, of the Hawaii Constitution (and the Hawaii statutes that implement it) facially violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by allowing voters to select a political party’s general-election candidates (other than a Presidential candidate) without publicly declaring their affiliation with that party. As explained to follow, a party’s First Amendment right of free association includes the right to limit its association to people who share its views. Arguing that association is a “two way street,” the DPH contends that this right is severely burdened if a party does not know who is associating with it, and thus has no opportunity to restrict persons from participating in the nomination of a party’s candidates. Further arguing that Hawaii has no narrowly-tailored, compelling state interest justifying such a burden, the DPH seeks to prevent Defendant Scott T. Nago, in his official capacity as the Chief Election Officer of the State of Hawaii (“Nago” or the “State”), from administering this unconstitutional law any further.

Before the court are (1) Cross Motions for Summary Judgment; and (2) a Motion for Preliminary Injunction by the DPH seeking to enjoin Nago from enforcing or applying Hawaii’s primary election laws in any way that violates the First Amendment. Based on the following, the DPH’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Motion for Preliminary Injunction are DENIED. The State’s corresponding Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. The DPH’s facial challenge fails. Judgment shall issue in favor of the State.

PDF: FULL TEXT

CB: Federal Judge: Hawaii's Open Primary Is Constitutional

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AP: Judge upholds Hawaii open primary election system

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