Yesterday's Sixth Circuit decision finding that Ohio election regulations unconstitutionally denied ballot access to the Libertarian Party is more significant than the relatively sparse press coverage would suggest. Our local paper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, only ran this small story on the decision.
As Richard Winger notes, this is the first time a minor party has won a ballot access case in a federal appeals court since 1997. This decision could also have national implications given Ohio's pivotal role in recent Presidential campaigns and increasingly purple hue. There is a Libertarian Party candidate for Governor in Ohio this year (former Case economics professor Bill Pierce), but the Libertarian candidate for President was not on the Ohio ballot in 2004, and this likely aided the re-election of President Bush. Given how disenchanted many Ohio conservatives have become with current Republican office holders, the LP may begin to cut into the GOP's support if it continues to field candidates (and Ohio Republicans continue to eschew any commitment to limited-government).