Minneapolis, MN (January 27, 2021) -- Yesterday, the final brief was filed in the United States Supreme Court case De La Fuente v. Simon (file number 20-612) brought by presidential candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente and Minnesota voter James Martin. In reply to the response of Minnesota Secretary Of State Steve Simon calling De La Fuente and Martin’s petition “without merit” and “absurd.” The pair petitioned the SCOTUS to review a judgement against them by the highest court in Minnesota that prevented De La Fuente from appearing on the March 2020 primary election ballot and Martin from casting a vote that would advance the election of a slate of delegates supportive of De La Fuente.
In Simon’s response (filed just two weeks ago), the U.S. Supreme Court was urged to believe the underlying issue of the case is the political party’s right to choose with whom it will (and will not) associate. To which the duo’s attorney, Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis based Mohrman Kaardal & Erickson, wrote in reply, “The underlying issue of this case is not the vindication of a party’s right to choose its candidates. Rather, it is about the denial of candidates chosen by a major political party, like De La Fuente, to be treated equally on the ballot and the right of Minnesota voters, like Martin, to be presented with a ballot that accurately identifies those candidates.”
Simon argues against De La Fuente and Martin stating that the pair is trying to “force the Republican Party to associate with them.” In reply, Kaardal told the Supreme Court, “the Secretary of State’s argument is contradicted by the record as the Minnesota Republican Party chose to allow party delegates supportive of [De La Fuente] to be elected” and allowed Martin to obtain access to the party’s primary ballot. Additionally, Simon told the Court that the election results are not binding, but instead “merely yields a particular variety of information … that the major parties then use within their private nominating processes.” Kaardal’s reply points out that Simon’s response misrepresents Minnesota law in that “the primary results [are binding] as to delegates … the [Party] is not free to accept or ignore the results: the Party must send the slate of delegates supportive of the named candidate [chosen by Minnesota voters] to its convention.” Kaardal points the Supreme Court to the Minnesota Statute that explicitly states as much.
De La Fuente and Martin’s reply iterate their cause of action multiple times in that “the constitutional right of voters to be presented with a ballot accurately identifying those candidates in a primary election” must be advanced. Kaardal backs up his reply by citing Minnesota case law stating that the “interest of voters who are entitled to a ballot that accurately identifies the candidates actually running for office” is paramount in a primary election. He continues rebutting Simon’s reply by pointing out that the statutes at issue, if allowed to remain, are likely to allow “the distribution of an inaccurate ballot” in every presidential nomination primary to follow by allowing bona fide candidates to be “concealed from the printed ballot.”
With the petition process now complete, the briefs will be circulated within the U.S. Supreme Court, after which the highest court in the nation will decide if it will consider the case. According to the United States Courts, 4,194 petitions for a writ of certiorari were filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in its October 2018 term of which only 86 were granted. When asked what he thinks about having just over a 2% chance of the petition being granted, Martin replied, “The fabric of Minnesota’s republican form of government is torn. Rocky tripped over the needle, and the thread fell in my lap. Anytime democracy is in need of mending, it is our duty to try to stich it up the best way we can.”
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This press release supplements an earlier release published online at <http://www.votejimmartin.com?p=1203>.