Independent Party of Connecticut v. Dietter
A party that requests a writ of mandamus must establish: 1.) that the party has a clear legal right to the performance of a duty; 2.) that the defendant has no discretion with respect to the performance of that duty; and 3.) that the plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law. The plaintiff, Independent Party of Connecticut, which was formerly known as the Unaffiliated Party of Connecticut, requested an order of mandamus, to place the plaintiff's candidates, Corky Mazurek and Bruce Walezak, on the Nov. 6, 2012, ballot for the 16th Senatorial and 106th House Districts of the General Assembly. The Independent Party qualifies as a minor political party in Connecticut, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §9-372(6). The defendants claim that they are acting on behalf of the Independent Party. The plaintiffs assert that the defendants lack the authority to nominate or to endorse certain candidates. The parties dispute whether the Independent Party's rules met the requirements in C.G.S. §9-374, when the Independent Party became a minor political party. The court found that the nomination provisions in the 2006 rules were similar to the 1987 rules. The parties disputed whether the 2006 rules continued to apply, after the Independent Party became a minor political party in 2008. The court did not find any inconsistency between C.G.S. §9-374 and the 2006 rules that the defendant Independent Party follows. The plaintiffs, which did not follow the amendment procedures in the 2006 rules or the applicable statute in the adoption of rules in 2010, do not possess a clear right to the placement of their candidates on the ballot line for the Independent Party of Connecticut. The 2010 amendment to the 2006 rules took place at a caucus pursuant to a statute that does not apply to the amendment of the state party rules. "[T]he plaintiff Independent Party," wrote the court, "has failed to establish a clear legal right to the performance of a duty by the Secretary of the State." The court denied the plaintiffs' request for a temporary order of mandamus.