The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals handed former third-party presidential candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein yet another loss this week.
"Every four years, we suffer through the celebration of democracy (and national nightmare) that is a presidential election," wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown in the three-judge panel's ruling against Stein and Johnson. "And, in the end, one person is selected to occupy our nation's highest office. But in every hard-fought presidential election there are losers. And, with quadrennial regularity, those losers turn to the courts."
The "losers" identified by Brown on Tuesday include Johnson, former Libertarian Party presidential nominee, and Stein, former Green Party presidential nominee, who filed suit against the Commission on Presidential Debates stemming from their exclusion from the debate stage. Johnson and Stein ran as their respective parties' nominees in 2012 and 2016, and were excluded from nationally televised debates both times.
The case resolved this week stemmed from Johnson and Stein's claims of injury during the 2012 campaign. Johnson and Stein claimed that the memorandum of understanding governing the debates agreed to by President Obama and 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney was "an unlawful agreement to monopolize and restrain competition."
They said they "lost millions of dollars' worth of publicity, campaign contributions, and matching funds that ordinarily would follow participation in the debates, as well as the salaries they would have earned as president and vice president if they won," as detailed in the court's opinion.
"None of these allegations articulate a clear legal claim, let alone identify a cognizable injury," Brown wrote of Johnson and Stein's complaints. "To make matters worse, the complaint omits entirely any allegation of government action, focusing entirely on the actions of the nonprofit defendants."
Brown dismissed Johnson and Stein's case, affirming a lower court ruling.