By Derrick DePledge
Robert Thomas, an attorney who writes a blog on legal matters, offered his assessment Thursday of recent filings in the Democratic Party of Hawaii's lawsuit challenging the state's open primary.
Thomas, who has been involved in legal challenges to reapportionment and who has represented the Star-Advertiser in an open-records case against the state, predicts the party might prevail.
His take is that the case is about whether primary elections are about voter choice or party choice:
The philosophical heart of the case is whether a primary election is about a voter's choice or a party's choice, but nothing we've read in the briefing so far has changed our initial prediction that the case is going to turn on the mandatory nature of the open primary. Our read of Hawaii law is that there's no other way for a political party to choose its general election standard-bearer. Thus, however odd it may seem in an overwhelmingly Democratic state where the primary in many cases serves as the de facto general election, the Party's right to pick whom it wants as its candidate to stand before the public in a meaningless election has a good shot at winning out over the State's argument for a voter's choice of whom he wants to serve as his representative.