Monday, October 01, 2007, 8:39 PM

Fourth Circuit Holds VA's Open Primary Law Unconstitutional

Today the Fourth Circuit affirmed a ruling that Virginia's open primary law is unconstitutional as applied to a state senatorial district Republican Committee and enjoined the state from requiring an open primary in that district in 2007. The case is Miller v. Brown. The gist: the open primary law, as applied, burdened the Committee's First Amendment associational rights, by forcing it to use a nomination process that prevented it from excluding voters with whom it didn't wish to associate, namely Democrats. (The freedom of association, of course, includes the freedom not to associate.) The Fourth Circuit rejected the state's argument that the open primary law, as applied, is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state interest.

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