Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled that the Citizens’ Election Program is unconstitutional because it violates minor party candidates’ right to participate in the political process, laying out four compelling reasons for his decision:
- CEP grants funds that are beyond historic expenditure levels
- CEP strengthens major party candidates that otherwise would not have the public support or success to run for office
- CEP regulations for a qualifying minor party candidate are impossible
- CEP distribution formula discourages minor party candidates
This ruling creates turmoil for candidates running for office in 2010. Former Speaker Jim Amann, for example, whose campaign is already on life support, claimed that his weak fundraising totals were because he was raising CEP-qualifying contributions.
But he won’t be the only one. The biggest question mark of them all hangs over the head of Governor Jodi Rell. As the Governor who signed CEP into law, she was almost certainly going to participate in the program. What does the Governor do now? Is the change dramatic enough to keep her from running in 2010?
Update: According to the Courant piece, AG Dick Blumenthal is on the case. He indicated to reporters that he will seek a stay of the Judge’s decision and file an appeal.