Constitution Party of Pa. v. Cortes

Aspiring political parties and their members challenged, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the constitutionality of two provisions of Pennsylvania’s election code: 25 Pa. Stat. 2911(b) and 2937. The provisions, respectively, regulate the number of signatures required to attain a position on the general election ballot and govern the process by which private individuals can sue in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to challenge the validity of a candidate’s nomination paper or petition. At the summary judgment stage, the district court held that, acting in combination, the two provisions, as applied, violated plaintiffs’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. On appeal, the Commonwealth argued that neither named state official has a sufficient connection to the challenged provisions to be a proper defendant and that the court’s order was “incoherent on its face” The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting the “technical issues” raised by the Commonwealth. Both the Secretary of the Commonwealth and its Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Commissions, Elections, and Legislation had a sufficient connection to the enforcement of the challenged provisions as required under Ex Parte Young. View "Constitution Party of Pa. v. Cortes" on Justia Law