Gary Johnson, Jill Stein Won’t Take Debate Snub Case to SCOTUS

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By Patrick L. Gregory

The U.S. Supreme Court won’t consider whether third party presidential candidates were improperly excluded from the 2012 debates, after it denied review today.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein asked the high court in their petition for review whether their exclusion by the nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates for not having high enough poll numbers violated antitrust laws.

Johnson and Stein sued the commission, the Republican and Democratic National Committees, former President Barack Obama, and 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, alleging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Antitrust laws protect market competition, and holding political office doesn’t constitute trade or commerce protected by the act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in 2017’s Johnson v. Comm’n on Presidential Debates.

Johnson and Stein said that decision was wrong, arguing that the act covered the “marketplace of ideas.”

The case is Johnson v. Comm’n on Presidential Debates , U.S., No. 17-916, petition for review denied 2/20/18 .

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick L. Gregory in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at

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