Supreme Court Upholds Washington's 'Open' Primary
While many eyes in D.C. today were on the Supreme Court debate of the the District's gun ban, the high court also made some interesting election news, upholding the constitutionality of Washington state's unusual "open" primary system.
The court voted 7 to 2 to allow Washington to go forward with its new electoral structure, under which the top two vote-getters in the open primary advance to the general election, regardless of party. That means two Democrats or two Republicans could end up facing each other in November in a gubernatorial or congressional contest, with the other party left on the outside looking in.
Both the state Democratic party and the state GOP strongly opposed the new system, arguing that it deprived them of the right to pick their own nominees as they see fit. Rick Hasen, who writes the excellent Election Law Blog, called today's decision a "shocker." The new system was created after the 2004 election but has never actually been used, as it has faced repeated legal challenge and was struck down by a federal district court judge and a federal appeals court before the Supreme Court -- led by Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote for the majority -- upheld it today.
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