California: U.S. High Court Turns Aside Constitutional Challenge To California’s ‘Top Two’ Primary Election Law | MetNews
The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the ‘Top Two’ primary system approved by California voters in 2010 as Proposition 14. The justices, without comment, denied certiorari in Rubin v. Padilla, 233 Cal.App.4th 1128. The Green, Libertarian, and Peace and Freedom parties challenged the law in Alameda Superior Court, arguing that because only the top two vote-getters in the primary—regardless of party—advance to the general election, smaller parties are normally denied the right of participation in the final contest. In 2012, for example, only three such candidates appeared on general election ballots out of more than 150 contests. The system, the plaintiffs argued, deprives them of equal protection and associational and voting rights under the Constitution, since their candidates will nearly always finish lower than second, even though they meet the state’s definition of a qualified party and often get at least a few percent of the vote. Supporters of the top-two, or “open,” primary—including former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who shepherded the measure through the Legislature—dismissed those arguments and intervened in the litigation.