NEW YORK—Federal appeals court judges seemed inclined during oral arguments Friday to let New Yorks Democratic presidential primary proceed next month despite state claims that it could threaten the safety of voters during a pandemic.
The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard 90 minutes of arguments after a judge last week ordered the primary to take place despite an April decision by Democratic members of the states Board of Elections to cancel it.
Even without the presidential primary, elections were scheduled in all but two of the states 62 races for other elections, including congressional and state races.
The judges did not immediately rule, but they leaned forcefully against the state.
Some of them seized on the claim by Judith Vale, an attorney for the state, that Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang could have remained on the ballot by withdrawing their announcements that they were suspending their presidential campaigns. Instead, lawyers sued to keep them on the ballot.
Circuit Judge Amalya L. Kearse asked what a candidate would have to do to reinstate a suspended campaign.
Vale said they would have to send a letter to the Board of Elections or “otherwise make clear they were un-suspending their campaign.”
“How does that differ functionally from what Senator Sanders did, which was to simply ask not to be taken off the ballot?” Kearse asked.
Vale said Sanders failed to announce he was lifting the suspension of his campaign.
Judge Dennis Jacobs noted that one way a candidate might decide to re-enter the race was if “they did quite well in the presidential primary in New York.”
“So the question becomes whether this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Jacobs said. “If you suspend, you cant appear on the ballot. If you cant appear on the ballot, you cant get the public support that brings in the money. If you cant bring in the money, you cant resuscitate your campaign.”
Judge José A. Cabranes cited the constitutional right to vote and the First Amendment and questioned whether state or national leaders of the Democratic party had a say in the decision to cancel the primary.
He also said delegates play an important role in the Democratic convention and have made the difference in the selection of vice presidential candidates in the past.
“Doesnt it seem odd to you that somehow these other political contests will go on and the only one thats eliminated is the presidential primary? Doesnt it suggest that theres some particular objective here thats perhaps notRead More From Source