March 20, 2008

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

Supreme Court Upholds I-872!

Overturning the district court and the Ninth Circuit rulings, the US Supreme Court has upheld Washington's modified blanket primary! According to the Seattle Times (HT: Scotus Blog), the political parties are "fuming". Good.

I hope to write a detailed analysis of the opinions, and my opinion of them, after Easter, but for now, here is a brief summary of the three opinions filed:

  • Justice Thomas, writing for a majority of seven (much larger than pundits expected - my own predictions were completely off) which included justices Roberts, Souter, Stevens, Ginsburg Breyer and Alito, found that the facial challenge failed, but that if the parties could show that voters were actually confused and thought that candidates were endorsed by parties, they could file a successful as-applied challenge.

  • Chief Justice Roberts, in a concurring opinion joined by Justice Alito, warned the state more strongly that the ballots must be designed such that no reasonable voter will believe that the parties endorse the candidates that "prefer" them.

  • Justice Scalia, in a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Kennedy (you may have noticed that the split on this case is quite odd...) argues that because of the special status of the ballot the speech does effectively associate the candidate and the party and prevents the party from effectively replying. He makes characteristically sarcastic remarks to the effect that the only purpose of the law is to hamstring the political parties. (This, of course, isn't that far from the truth - I, at least, was partially motivated by a desire to screw the political parties, but I would argue that this is only because the parties currently have far more power than they ought and therefore need to be cut down to size.)

Again, I hope to post more later. Currently, for an extended analysis of the potential effect of the new system, see The Wash Park Prophet; for discussion of the possibility of California adopting a similar system, see Dan Walters on

Posted by Kenny at March 20, 2008 9:30 PM
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