1. This is a civil action for Emergency Injunctive Relief against the Federal Elections Commission, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and Lynn University, to enjoin them from violating numerous laws of the State of Florida and the United States by conducting the U.S. Presidential debate scheduled to be held on October 22, 2012, at Lynn University, in Boca Raton, Florida, which violations have and will continue to directly, substantially and irreparably harm and damage Green Party Presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein.



   3. Plaintiff Dr. Jill Stein is the United State’s Presidential Candidate for the Green Party. Dr. Stein graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973 and from Harvard Medical School in 1979. Dr. Stein is, inter alia, a pioneer in the field of environmental-health, green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats. Dr. Stein currently resides in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Green Party Headquarters is based in Madison, Wisconsin.

  4. Dr. Stein is currently on the ballot for the November 2012 Presidential election in the State of Florida, 36 other states, and the District of Columbia. Dr. Stein will appear as a write-in candidate in Connecticut,Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wyoming. Dr. Stein is seeking write-in status in Nebraska, Nevada, and North Carolina.

  5.Due to the fact that Dr. Stein is on the ballot in all of the largest states in the country and nearly all of the mid-size states, her name will appear on 85% or more of all ballots cast. As such, 85% or more of the   American populace is currently eligible to vote for Dr. Stein in the upcoming Presidential election. Dr. Stein has reached a level of support among the American populace such that her campaign has qualified to receive matching funds from the federal government to seek the Presidency.

  1. Further, and most decisively, due to the cumulative allocation of Electoral College votes designated to those states in which Dr. Stein is on the ballot,1 she has a “mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority in the 2012 general election”, a current prerequisite to participate in the Presidential debates under the current system. [See Exhibit A: Commission on Presidential Debates 2012 Candidate Selection Criteria: Evidence of Ballot Access]

  2. Notwithstanding that Dr. Stein is currently eligible to win the Presidency, defendant Commission on Presidential Debates has not “invited” her to participate in any of the previous Presidential debates for the 2012 election.

  3. Defendant Federal Election Commission (Hereinafter the “FEC”) is a U.S. governmental regulatory agency created by Congress in 1975 to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC are, inter alia, to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law, such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections. Its principle place of business is Washington DC.

  4. Under certain and specifically delineated circumstances, the Federal Elections Commission has the authority to exempt corporate sponsorship of nonpartisan candidate debates from the general prohibition on corporate contributions. In relevant part, the delineated circumstances are as follows: PART 110: CONTRIBUTION AND EXPENDITURE LIMITATIONS AND PROHIBITIONS 110.13 – Candidate debates.

(a) Staging organizations. (1) Nonprofit organizations described in 26 U.S.C. 501 (c)(3) or (c)(4) and which do not endorse, support, or oppose political candidates or political parties may stage candidate debates in accordance with this section and 11 CFR 114.4(f).

(b) Debate structure. The structure of debates staged in accordance with this section and 11 CFR 114.4(f) is left to the discretion of the staging organizations(s), provided that:
(1) Such debates include at least two candidates; and

(2) The staging organization(s) does not structure the debates to promote or advance one candidate over another.
(c) Criteria for candidate selection. For all debates, staging organization(s) must use pre-established objective criteria to determine which candidates may participate in a debate. For general election debates, staging organizations(s) shall not use nomination by a particular political party as the sole objective criterion to determine whether to include a candidate in a debate.

11. Defendant Republican National Committee is a political organization which provides and otherwise constitutes the national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States. It is responsible for, inter alia, developing and promoting the Republican political platform, and fundraising for the Party.

12. Defendant Democratic National Committee is a political organization which provides and otherwise constitutes the national leadership for the Democratic Party of the United States. It is responsible for, inter alia, developing and promoting the Democratic political platform, and fundraising for the Party.

13. In 1987, defendants Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee joined together to form defendant Commission on Presidential Debates with the express purpose of insulating the two major political parties from substantial Presidential debate liabilities, responsibilities, and expense. The Commission on Presidential Debates is allegedly a private, non-profit corporation organized under 26 USC Sec. 501(c) (3) and the laws of the District of Columbia, with its principle place of business at 1200 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Suite 445, Washington DC

14. Lynn University is a private university located in Boca Raton, Florida. Kevin M. Ross is president of the University. Lynn University is the site of the scheduled Presidential debate on October 22, 2012. Lynn University is listed on the Commission for Presidential Debate’s website as a “Voter Education Partner.”


15. Venue is proper in this Court as Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, is the scheduled forum for the Presidential debate scheduled for October 22, 2012.

16. Pursuant to F.S. 48.193, this Court has personal jurisdiction over each and all of the named defendants in this cause by the fact that each and all of them operate, engage in, or carry on business in the State of Florida, have an office or agency in the State of Florida, have committed tortious acts in the State of Florida, and/or have committed tortious acts in other states or jurisdictions resulting in harm to Plaintiff in the State of Florida.

  1. Specifically, as the sole federal agency overseeing and responsible for U.S. Presidential elections, defendant Federal Elections Commission regularly conducts and transacts business in every state in the nation, including the State of Florida, and Palm Beach County, and will continue to do so up to and beyond the Presidential election in November 2012.

  2. Defendant Republican National Committee regularly transacts business in the State of Florida and Palm Beach County. As of June 2012, the RNC had opened 23 “Victory” offices in the State of Florida from where it conducts its business. The RNC promotes the election of party candidates with technical and financial support and works with national, state and local party organizations, including elected officials, candidates, constituencies and grassroots volunteers across the country, including in Palm Beach County, Florida.

  3. Defendant Democratic National Committee regularly transacts business in the State of Florida and Palm Beach County. The DNC promotes the election of party candidates with technical and financial support and works with national, state and local party organizations, including elected officials, candidates, constituencies and grassroots volunteers across the country, including in Palm Beach County Florida.

  4. Defendant Lynn University regularly transacts business and is situated in Palm Beach County, Florida.

  5. This Court has jurisdiction to hear violations of the Florida Constitution, the Florida Civil Rights Act, and other Florida laws and torts. This Court also has concurrent jurisdiction to hear cases brought pursuant to 42 USC Sec. 1983 for violations of the United States Constitution and other federal laws.

  1. Pursuant to Article I, Section 21 of the Florida Constitution, this Court “shall be open to every person for redress of any injury, and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.”

  2. This Court has jurisdiction to issue injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and award compensatory damages. The damages in this case exceed the jurisdictional amount of $15,000.00, exclusive of costs and attorney’s fees.


  3. On October 16th, 2012, less than one week ago, Presidential Green Party candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, and her Vice-Presidential running mate, Ms. Cheri Honkala, were arrested for being on the grounds of the site of the Presidential debate which was scheduled to take place approximately seven hours later.

  4. Dr. Stein arrived on the grounds of Hofstra University at approximately 2:00pm in order to speak with defendant Commission for Presidential Debates to request that she and other “third party” candidates be allowed to participate in that evening’s Presidential debate. Fifteen minutes after making that request to a representative of defendant Commission, Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were approached by local police and the Secret Service, at which time they were handcuffed, taken to a remote detention facility/wharehouse especially set up to house “protestors”, where they were forced to remain for over eight hours while tightly handcuffed to metal chairs until such time as the debate between the only two candidates “invited” to participate in the debate was over.

  5. When Dr. Stein and Ms. Honkala were finally “un-handcuffed” from the metal chairs and released, they were sent out into the cold night in a remote location with no notice to their lawyers or staff of their release.

  1. Dr. Stein’s comments concerning her arrest, handcuffing, and incarceration are, in essence, the basis for this injunction. Upon her release, Dr. Stein stated: “It was painful but symbolic to be handcuffed for all those hours, because that’s what the Commission on Presidential Debates has essentially done to American democracy.”

  2. On October 3, 1988, the League of Women Voters withdrew its sponsorship of the Presidential debates for the very reason articulated by Dr. Stein almost a quarter of a century later. As reason for its withdrawal, the head of the League stated as follows: “The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter…The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American people.”

  3. With the honorable institution of the League of Women Voters now out of the way, the two “major” parties, acting by and through defendants Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee, “created” defendant Commission on Presidential Debates in their own image for the specific purpose of having the new-found Commission host all future Presidential debates to the exclusion of any other political party.

  4. The Commission for Presidential Debates was established as a tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) “non-profit” corporation and currently retains that status, at least on paper.
    26 US Code Sec. 501 mandates that corporations may only be tax exempt, inter alia, as long as they do not attempt to “influence legislation”, and as long as they do “NOT PARTICPATE IN, OR INTERVENE IN…ANY POLITICAL CAMPAIGN ON BEHALF OF OR IN OPPOSITION TO ANY CANDIDATE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE.”

  1. Subsequent to the DNC and the RNC creating their “non-profit” corporate alter ego under the guise of defendant Commission on Presidential Debates, said Commission and defendants DNC and RNC thereafter met privately in Washington DC to devise specific rules for the Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates. Once again, the League of Women Voters hit the nail on the head concerning the discriminatory and exclusive intent of defendants Commission, RNC and DNC: “Americans deserve to see and the hear the men who would be president face each other in a debate on the hard and complex issues critical to our progress into the next century.” But instead, the control of the Commission “is a closed-door masterpiece” between the Republican and Democratic parties.

  2. The “closed-door masterpiece” between the Republican and Democratic parties which is in place for the 2012 Presidential debates is a MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING attached hereto as Exhibit B.

  3. The introductory paragraph of the MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING reads as follows: “This Memorandum of Understanding constitutes an agreement between Obama for America and Romney for President (the “campaigns”) regarding the rules that will govern debates in which the campaigns participate in 2012. This agreement shall be binding upon the campaigns.”

34. The Memorandum goes on to address the issue of “Sponsorship”:

“The two campaigns will participate in four debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The Campaigns agree that the Commission shall sponsor the debates, subject to its expression of a willingness to employ the provisions of this agreement in conducting these debates. In the event the Commission does not so agree, the two campaigns jointly reserve the right to determine whether an alternate sponsor is preferable. The parties agree that the Commission’s Nonpartisan Candidate Selection Criteria for 2012 General Election Debate participation shall apply in determining the candidates to be invited to participate in these debates.”

35. The Memorandum goes on to address “Participants”: “If one of more candidates from campaigns other than the two signatories are invited to participate pursuant to those Selection Criteria, those candidates shall be included in the debates, if those candidates accept the terms of this agreement.”

36. As they have done since the Commission’s invention in 1987, earlier this year, the Commission on Presidential Debates, the RNC and the DNC, acting in concert with each other and only each other, established the “selection criteria” for the 2012 Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates. [See Exhibit A] No other political party, including, or more appropriately excluding, Dr. Stein, was consulted or invited by defendants Commission, DNC or RNC to attend the planning sessions wherein they established the criteria for participation in the 2012 Presidential debates

37. The Commission’s 2012 Candidate Selection Criteria Introduction reads as follows: “The Mission of the nonpartisan Committee on Presidential Debates is to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates are held every four years between the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States. The CPD sponsored a series of such debates in each of the past six general elections, and has begun the planning, preparation, and organization of a series of nonpartisan debates among leading candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency in the 2012 Presidential election. As in prior years, the CPD’s voter educational activities will be conducted in accordance with all applicable legal requirements, including regulations of the Federal Election Commission that require that debate sponsors extend invitations to debate on the application of “pre- established, objective” criteria. The goal of the CPD is to afford the members of the public an opportunity to sharpen their views, in a focused debate format, of those candidates from among whom the next President and Vice-President will be selected. In each of the last six elections, there were scores of declared candidates for the Presidency, excluding those seeking the nomination of one of the major parties. During the course of the campaign, the candidates are afforded many opportunities in a great variety of forums to advance their candidacies. In order most fully and fairly to achieve the educational purposes of its debates, the CPD has developed nonpartisan, objective, criteria upon which it will base its decisions regarding selection of the candidates to participate in its 2012 debates. The purpose of the criteria is to identify those candidates who have achieved a level of support such that they realistically are considered to be among the principal rivals for the Presidency. In connection with the 2012 general election, the CPD will apply three criteria to each declared candidate to determine whether the candidate qualifies for inclusion in one or more of the CPD debates. The criteria are (1) constitutional eligibility; (2) ballot access; (3) electoral support. All three criteria shall be satisfied before a candidate will be invited to debate.

38. Constitutional eligibility means that the candidate must:

  1. Be at least 35 years of age;

  2. Be a natural born citizen of the United States and a resident of the United

    States for 14 years;

  3. Be otherwise eligible for the office of President under the U.S. Constitution.2

39. Evidence of Ballot Access “requires that the candidate qualify to have his/her name appear on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing an Electoral College majority in the 2012 general election. Under the Constitution, the candidate who receives a majority of votes in the Electoral College, at least 270 votes, is elected President, regardless of the popular vote.”

40. Indicators of electoral support “requires that the candidate have a level of support of at least 15% of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations, using the average of those organizations’ most recent publicly-reported results at the time of the determination.

41. Because the Commission for Presidential Debates is allegedly “non-profit”, it survives by “donations” and “private funding” and “fundraising” for its “educational activities”, such as the Presidential debates, its primary reason for existing in the first instance. The Commission’s Mission Statement reads as follows:

“The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice-presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates. The organization, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501 ( c ) (3) corporation, sponsored all the presidential debates in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.” [See Exhibit C]

42. Pursuant to the Commission’s website, the list of “Sponsors of the 2012 Debates” who have philanthropically chosen to facilitate and foster its “educational” goals, are Anheuser-Busch Companies, The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Sheldon S. Cohen, Esq., Crowell & Moring LLP, International Bottled Water Association, the Kovler Fund, and Southwest Airlines. Communications Support for the debates is provided by The Kaiser Family Foundation. [See Exhibit D]

43. The venue of the debate is Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. According to the University’s president, the Commission on Presidential Debates recently “awarded Lynn University the prestigious honor of hosting the third and final 2012 Presidential Debate, which will take place on our campus.” Dr. Ross further stated that “our University has been gaining a reputation as an open forum for public dialogues, and we are thrilled to be providing this service to our campus, community and country.”

44. According to its website, “Lynn University is committed to and actively supports the spirit and the letter of equal opportunity as defined by federal, state and local laws. It is the policy of Lynn University to ensure equal opportunity in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and employment policies without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, veteran or military status, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by law.”

45. The University’s website is literally plastered with Presidential Debate articles, information, slogans, events, opportunities to volunteer, links to financially sponsor the debate and links to “donate” to the debate, to name a few. Every web page on the University’s internet site now says somewhere on it: Lynn University—Official Host, 2012 Presidential Debate

46. Further, and as coincidence would have it, Lynn University is “GOING GREEN.” According to its website: “As Lynn University charges into the future, we stand strong in our commitment to create a more sustainable campus, community and planet. Our fragile natural surroundings in South Florida serve as a daily reminder of why our efforts to “go green” are vital to the longevity and mission of the university”. As part of a comprehensive plan, Lynn’s Sustainability Committee is focused on improvement in 5 major areas: 1. Community Education; 2. Energy and Transportation; 3. Landscape and Ecology; 4. Water; 5. Materials and Waste. [See Exhibit E]



  1. Plaintiff re-alleges and hereby incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-46 above as if fully set out herein.

  2. All defendants in this matter have acted and continue to act under color of state law under the facts of this case.

  3. The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects Dr. Stein and endorses her with substantive due process rights under the law. Specifically, Dr. Stein has a protected property interest in becoming the President of the United States.

  4. Due to the fact that Dr. Stein is the U.S. Presidential candidate for the Green Party, and because she meets all U.S. Constitutional requirements to take the office of President, and given the fact that she is on a sufficient number of state ballots in the upcoming election, and that those states can provide her with enough Electoral College votes to win the Presidency, her due process rights rise to the level of a legitimate claim to entitlement.

  5. As such, defendants, jointly and severally, violated Dr. Stein’s due process rights by denying her entry, or otherwise not “inviting” her to participate in the Presidential debate at issue ostensibly based on an alleged failure to meet what are clearly arbitrary, capricious, vague, and subjective participation criteria regarding “polling data”, “support”, and other such unreliable, subjective, manipulable and untrustworthy indicators. Such criteria should be considered and ruled void ab initio.

52. Further, defendants, jointly and severally, violated Dr. Stein’s 14th Amendment procedural due process rights prior to depriving her of her property interest in the Presidency. Jointly and severally, defendants intentionally, purposefully and with premeditation deprived Dr. Stein of her Constitutional “notice and opportunity to be heard” regarding participation in establishing criteria for Presidential debate participation.

  1. Further, defendants concomitantly violated Dr. Stein’s due process rights pursuant to Article I, Section 9, of the Florida Constitution, and her liberty interest applicable to the State of Florida by and through the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

  2. As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ joint and several violations of Dr. Stein’s due process rights and protections, she has suffered and will continue to suffer immediate loss and irreparable injury and harm. Such loss, injury and harm will result to Dr. Stein before the adverse parties can be heard in opposition if the Court does not enjoin the Presidential debate scheduled for Monday, October 22, 2012, at 9:00pm.

  3. Plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law for these Constitutional violations. No amount of money could adequately compensate Plaintiff for the irreparable harm of not being able to participate in what is scheduled to be the last Presidential debate before the general election. Any such quantum would be unascertainable.

  4. Further, the public interest would be greatly served by the debate being postponed until such time as it would include Dr. Stein and any other candidate who participated in it pursuant to fair, equitable, and constitutional admission criteria.



  1. Plaintiff re-alleges and hereby incorporate by reference paragraphs 1-46 above as if fully set out herein.

  2. All defendants in this matter have acted and continue to act under color of state law under the facts of this case.

  3. The facts of the instant case are abundantly clear that at all times relevant to this case, and to date, Plaintiff was and is being treated by defendants, jointly and severally, with obvious, intentional and premeditated inequality when compared to the Presidential candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties.

  4. There is no rational basis to support this disparate treatment of a viable Presidential candidate. There is absolutely nothing rationally related to a legitimate government interest in so doing. Quite the contrary, in fact.

  5. Dr. Stein has as much of a “mathematical chance” of winning the Electoral College at this time as President Obama and Governor Romney, yet she is denied the same rights and enormous opportunities showered upon them because of, inter alia, their party affiliations as the two “major parties.”

62. Nothing about this case has been fair and equal and nor will it ever be if the Court fails to enjoin the future actions of all defendants effective immediately. The election laws relevant to this case, starting with the private, exclusive and conspiratorially created Debate Commission in the first instance, up to and including the intentional and willful exclusion of Dr. Stein from tonight’s debate based on self-serving, subjective “polling” criteria3 purported to pass as a barometer of a candidate’s viability to win the Presidency and allegedly secure that candidate an “invitation” to the debate, is severely discriminatory against other than those belonging to the “club” of Republicans and Democrats.

63. In that regard, the subjective polling criteria which the Debate Commission is ostensibly using as an excuse to deny Dr. Stein her “invitation” to the last Presidential debate is a sham in theory and practice. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson presented polling results which could arguably have been accepted by the Commission, securing him an invitation to the last debate. After sending the Commission several demand letters advising that Mr. Johnson met all of the Commission’s debate invitation criteria, the Commission responded by denying Mr. Johnson his “invitation” to debate and otherwise advising him that “his claims are without merit.” [See Attachment F]

64. It is elementary that a candidate could, and usually does, rise in the polls once they have had substantial national exposure. That is precisely why and how defendants keep the polling numbers out of reach of other political parties and candidates. The Commission’s condescension in its Candidate Selection Criteria which, in no uncertain terms, tells minority candidates that there are many other fora where they can go to get their message out, is indicative of its absolute intention to keep the “riff-raff” off the national political stage.

65. The defendants in this cause made a conscious and deliberate choice to conduct the third and last Presidential debate in the State of Florida. As such, they have subjected themselves to the laws and jurisdiction of the State of Florida. Specifically, in conducting the debate as currently planned in Florida, the defendants will violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Florida Constitution which specifically mandates, inter alia, that “All natural persons, female and male alike, are equal before the law and have inalienable rights, among which are the right to enjoy and defend life and liberty, to pursue happiness, and to be rewarded for industry. 

66. Dr. Stein is entitled to the same protection under the U.S. Constitution and can plead it here pursuant to 42 USC Sec. 1983.

67. Dr. Jill Stein is not only equal under the law to the two “major party” candidates, she is better, because she became a viable contender for the Presidency while being discriminated against by the defendants at every turn. However, she now needs this Court to enforce her rights at this critical juncture by enjoining tonight’s debate until such time as it can be conducted fairly, equitably and legally so that the people of America can have the opportunity to see and hear what and whom they have been missing due to the unlawful acts of the defendants.



68. Plaintiff re-alleges and hereby incorporate by reference paragraphs 1-46 above as if fully set out herein.

69. All defendants in this matter have acted and continue to act under color of state law under the facts of this case.

70. The Florida and US Constitutions guarantee Dr. Stein freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the right to redress the grievances of her government. There is nowhere more appropriate than a Presidential debate for a declared Presidential candidate to express her views on political matters before millions of potential and likely voters just weeks before the general election.

71. The joint and several actions of the defendants in this matter, in intentionally and purposefully excluding her from prior debates and tonight’s debate have imposed a complete prior restraint on Dr. Stein’s freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to redress grievances against her government.  In conjunction with her equal protection claims, Dr. Stein is entitled under the Constitutions of Florida and the United States to exercise her freedom of speech in her individual capacity and especially in her capacity as an equal contender to the Presidency of the United States. Her rights to do so must be equal to those of President Obama and Governor Romney and any other candidate who is a viable contender for the Presidency under legal and constitutional criteria.

72. Until such time as that equality can be implemented, the Presidential debate scheduled for October 22, 2012, must be postponed.

73. There is no nexus between the participation of Dr. Stein in this debate and the cause of any legitimate harm caused by her participation in it, nor is there any legitimate governmental interest advanced by the denial of her participation. There is absolutely no reasonable basis to exclude Dr. Stein from tonight’s debate. 


74. Article I, Section 1, of the Florida Constitution specifically mandates that “All political power is inherent in the people.” The people of the State of Florida and the people of the United States are entitled to know who they want working for them. The Presidential debates are, in essence, job interviews, and Dr. Stein has filled out her application with the American people and made the last round of interviews. Her contenders, however, by and through the defendants in this cause, have jointly and severally taken every possible step to exclude Dr. Stein and other qualified job applicants from meaningfully competing for the job. The problem is they have done so in violation of the very Constitution they have sworn to uphold and that cannot and must not stand. Dr. Stein respectfully asks this Court to stop the irreparable harm which she will suffer if the Presidential debate is allowed to proceed as scheduled tonight. There is no other adequate remedy at law. Dr. Stein prays that this Court enjoin tonight’s debate until such time as all defendants can conduct it lawfully, constitutionally, fairly, equitably, and in compliance with all Voting Act rules and regulations.

Dated this 22nd day of October, 2012

Respectfully submitted:

Kathleen D. Kirwin, Esq.

The Law Firm of Kathleen D. Kirwin

7413 Broughton Street, Sarasota, Florida 342Phone: 941/366-1626

Fax: 270/912-7789
Email: kdkirwin @
Fla. Bar No: 0525529
Counsel for Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein

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“And Now It’s On To Chicago and Let’s Win There.” Robert F. Kennedy, June 5, 1968

As I traveled this day to Chicago to bear witness to and against an organization wholly culpable for the murder of countless and uncounted persons in the name of war, undaunted power and greed, I recalled words which Bobby Kennedy spoke to the world only moments before he was shot and only hours before he was dead. A few minutes before declaring victory in the California primary, then presidential candidate Robert Kennedy gave an interview in which he gave extraordinary voice to ordinary people whom the United States was killing in Viet Nam, without cause or reason or care. The deaths of these people in that foreign land, as well as the deaths of the soldiers who were killing them, were reason and cause enough for Senator Kennedy to proclaim that “we just have to change our policies.”  He “hoped that the Democratic Party would recognize that.” Kennedy stated: “Six months ago we were concerned about bombing Hanoi because we’re going to kill civilians. Now we’re killing larger numbers of them as we’re bombing Saigon.”

Robert Kennedy knew that the only way to stop the killing of Vietnamese civilians was to end the war forevermore. Before he could do so, he was assassinated and the slaughter and bombing in Southeast Asia continued unabated.

I, for one, have come to Chicago this week to echo the voice of Bobby Kennedy while the NATO ministers of war and the head of the “Democratic Party” conspire with each other to militarily and economically dominate the world with impunity, no matter the cost. But cost is not the issue here. I have come to Chicago to be the voice of those who NATO and President Obama deem fit to kill and maim and destroy without cause or reason or care. I am not here, however, to barter on their behalf. I am not here to trade the beneficent sparing of their lives for more American jobs or better health care. The lives this government takes so cavalierly around the globe are priceless and I will not equate those lives nor reduce those souls to matters of US economics. They are, to my mind, incomparable. The wars must end and the killing must stop, even if they cost nothing and deprived no one of anything.

My thinking or hoping that the current Democratic Party will recognize the need for a change in policy regarding ending its wars and sparing civilian lives as Robert Kennedy did is a pipedream. Nevertheless, thousands will gather in Chicago this week to at least try to make that dream come to pass because we must.

Ted Kennedy said it best as he spoke at his brother’s funeral:

“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world. As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him: ‘Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not.”

Ironically and perhaps cosmically, the last words Bobby Kennedy uttered in pubic were: “And now it’s on to Chicago and let’s win there.”


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Kate at the Tar Sands Pipeline protest–The White House, November 6, 2011

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Her Business Card Simply Said: Dorli Rainey-Activist. I Knew Right Away She Was The Real Deal.


By Kathleen Kirwin, Esq.

November 20, 2011

In the late afternoon of October 6th, 2011, I flew into Washington DC and headed straight for Freedom Plaza at the corner of 14th and Pennsylvania.  Months before that date, and as so many others already had, I “pledged” to be there to participate in an occupation of Washington entitled “October 2011: STOP THE MACHINE—CREATE A NEW WORLD.” On its website, and in solidarity with those who had already signed, I too pledged as follows:

“I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine to demand that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.”

It now comes as no surprise that Dorli Rainey had also signed the pledge to be at Freedom Plaza on October 6th, and she was.  The honor and privilege of sitting beside her that first night was utterly mine, while speakers, musicians, and the wise beyond their years voices of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers broadcasting live from Afghanistan over the Plaza’s sound system filled downtown Washington with something not indigenous to this nation’s capital: inspiration, enthusiasm, determination, solidarity, creativity, and a gravity of purpose, all for the good of the many, rather than the few. I can attest without hyperbole that as Ms. Rainey watched and listened to the events unfold that first night at Freedom Plaza, her 84 year old face reflected a joy and an unmitigated hope reserved for those whose dreams had come at last. As we took in the occupation’s opening events under the stars, Ms. Rainey put her Nana-like hand on my arm and said: “I have been waiting for this for a hundred years. I didn’t think I would live to see it.” And as Emma’s Revolution took the stage reminding us of the power of songs of protest, Ms. Rainey jumped from her seat and danced along with the crowd, clapping all the while.

I took a (blurry) picture of her with my phone while I wrote her words down on the back of her hand made business card.  I wanted them remembered.

Not only has Ms. Rainey “lived to see it”, she has lived to embody it. She has lived to personify it. She has lived to teach it and to advocate for it by a lifetime vigilant example. As such, it was not the least bit ironic to see that Ms. Rainey had joined the large march from Freedom Plaza to the Martin Luther King Memorial the following day to retrospectively commemorate the enormity and greatness of all that Dr. King stood and stands for, and to prospectively bring his morally and righteously based activism into the present fight for global sanity on all fronts.  Notwithstanding her years, the distance, and the heat that day, Ms. Rainey did what few people can claim: she literally and figuratively walked the walk of Dr. King. She was holding her government to account and she was doing so for the numerous younger generations with whom and for whom she marched that day, and their posterity. It’s a rare person who can evoke the visceral term posterity and endow it with the meaning it deserves, but this 84 year old “activist” does just that.

Ms. Rainey spent five days in Washington before returning home to Seattle. On November 16th, and as the world now knows, Seattle police engaged in acts of brutality against participants of Occupy Seattle. Ms. Rainey had gotten off her bus that day to join them in non-violent solidarity after witnessing a swarm of police helicopters flying overhead. The price she paid for doing so was to be on the receiving end of a volley of chemical weapons discharged by police officers. Peace officers, as it were. Notwithstanding that such a disproportionate and violent response by law enforcement constitutes fundamental excessive force, Ms. Rainey remains ideologically undaunted. Her exchange with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on November 17th is indicative:

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you, Dorli, what did it feel like to be pepper-sprayed in the face? This dramatic photograph of you being helped by two people right afterwards.

DORLI RAINEY: Well, first of all, it’s very painful. And when they say there are no after effects, I still have a pain in my lungs, and my voice is kind of raspy. I don’t know how long that will last. But the thing really is not about me getting pepper-sprayed. It is a much bigger issue than that, and I would like everybody to keep that in mind, that while we’re getting pepper-sprayed, other issues are not being heard. And that’s my problem. I feel issues become a major focus to the detriment of the real issues that cause this whole problem.

Notwithstanding Ms. Rainey’s drive to keep her eye on the ball, the issue of police brutality being committed on the streets of America against non-violent, unarmed citizen protestors, and the command responsibility of police and/or city brass giving police officers either the leeway or the orders to commit such brutality, is no longer a matter collateral to the “real issues”, as Ms. Rainey called them. Hence, if those trying to impose a literal police state want that fight, they will get it. But the fight will be on our terms: powerful and peaceful. And I can only hope Dorli Rainey will be leading it.

[Kathleen Kirwin is a trial attorney specializing in high-level civil rights and criminal cases and is currently based in Sarasota, Florida. She also practices international human rights and criminal law and has been an anti-war activist for the past 40 years. Kathleen can be contacted at and her blog can be found at]


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Never Been More Proud To Be in a Courtroom


“AS THE FATHER OF A YOUNG SON, I WENT TO THE WHITE HOUSE ON MARCH 19TH TO BE A VOICE FOR SHAHIDULLAH.” From the closing argument of Defendant Art Laffin in DC Superior Court.

Yesterday marked a watershed day in my 27 year legal career. It did not occur as I deftly cross- examined a witness, nor while waxing eloquent in front of a jury. Rather, it transpired as I sat in the back row of courtroom 219 in the DC Superior Court while watching and listening to the final day of testimony and closing arguments at a trial where 19 American citizens argued for justice. Notwithstanding that they were the ones on trial, the justice they pleaded for was not for themselves, and it never would be. Rather, the group’s cry was brought in the names of people half a world away, and the ultimate justice sought at the trial was a simple one: Stop killing them. Stop killing them.

Last March 19th, these 19 people wanted to talk to their president. They had a grievance with him and they went to his house to address it. In the airing of the grievance, the Park Police of the District of Columbia arrested this group of people for all manner of disorderly-ness, nuisance, not acting in obeisance, and generally getting in the way of life as it is known outside the fence surrounding 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But the group’s message would not be deterred and the arrest and trial of these 19 individuals brought to the public forum this week the voices of those who are, indeed, the actual victims of what it means to be unlawfully prosecuted, with the president of this nation acting as judge, jury and executioner.

On March 19, 2011, on what was the beginning of the ninth year of America’s criminal war of aggression against the sovereign nation of Iraq, and well into the 10th year of this country’s annihilation of Afghanistan, the honored and honorable group Veterans For Peace, organized and led a day of protest at the White House. In all, the Park Police arrested 133 people that day for various and petty misdemeanors in alleged contravention of the Code of Federal Regulation. While drones and Apache helicopter gunships were busily raining down death from the skies above Afghanistan that day without fear or risk of prosecution for untold and innumerable violations of international law, the Park Police were assuring that not a picture-postcard moment was lost in front of the White House as they arrested those who might have momentarily interfered with that shameful snapshot of America.

Of the 133 who were arrested that day for even attempting to redress their grievances at the White House, only 19 actually went to trial to challenge and otherwise bring into the public consciousness the corrupt and psychotic use of the laws used to attempt to corral and silence them and their message. Greater still, 19 citizens took their cases to trial to witness and to say the words out loud in a court of law and on the public record which must never be stopped being said: STOP KILLING THEM.

The 19 Defendants in this matter represented themselves. Although three outstanding and dedicated attorneys acted as their advisors, it was the accused themselves who challenged the government of the District of Columbia on factual, legal, evidentiary, and moral grounds at every turn. They examined and cross-examined and did all the things a lawyer usually does at trial. They did not argue that they were above the law, only that the correct law needed to be applied…the law which obligated them to risk arrest and jail in the first instance in order to be a voice for the countless number of people whose lives, homes, jobs, and families this country has destroyed and continues to destroy to this day, far far above the law.

One of the Defendants, Art Laffin, prepared and gave one of the closing arguments at the end of the trial yesterday. He kindly provided me with a copy of it for this article so that the message that these selfless 19 people brought to the courtroom this week could be shared with others. In reciting his closing argument, Art’s humility, humanity, and gentle spirit put truth on the table for all to see and hear. As stated above, I was never more proud to be in a courtroom than I was yesterday.

Here are his words, in relevant part:

“Thank you Judge Canan for your patience in hearing our case. We come before you as a group rich in diversity from different walks of life, including seven veterans, among whom are several Vietnam combat veterans and a WWII veteran. It is truly a great honor for me to be associated with such a distinguished group of co-defendants, as well as our exceptional advisory counsel, Ann Wilcox, Debbie Anderson and Mark Goldstone.

Our March 19 action at the White House, led by Veterans for Peace, is rooted in a long tradition of nonviolent dissent and resistance, dating back to biblical times and up through our own American history, including the abolitionist movement, the suffragist movement, the union movement, the civil rights movements, the anti-Vietnam war movement, and multiple other social justice movements. We act in the nonviolent tradition of people like Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Caesar Chavez and Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker of which I am a member.

The evidence you have heard from defendants in our case is compelling. You have heard testimony regarding what we did at the White House on March 19, the beginning of 9th year of the US invasion of Iraq. The Gov’t has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt that we violated the statutes of “failure to obey a lawful order” and “disorderly conduct.”

With respect to the “disorderly conduct–blocking passage charge,” each defense witness testified that they did not obstruct, block, or incommode anyone. Those of us on trial, never physically impeded or blocked any pedestrians, despite repeated claims by the government that we did so. As March 19 was a Saturday, it was not a work day. There was ample space for anyone wishing to walk on the sidewalk to do so. Lt. Lechance’s testimony supports this fact when he said that pedestrians could walk throughout the plaza in front of the White House. He also testified that the White House sidewalk was 35 feet wide and that the majority of people on the White House sidewalk were close to the White House fence. Mr. Carlyle, Mr. Wenk, Ms. Nichalson and Mr. Elliott, all testified that there was sufficient space on the WH sidewalk portion of the White House plaza for anyone else, apart from our group, who wished to be there.

The government repeatedly has claimed that we obstructed people. Lt. Lechance testified that the large crowd obstructed people. But he never said that he saw any defendant individually block or obstruct anyone. Moreover, the government has failed to produce any evidence regarding specific individuals who said they were obstructed by any of the defendants on the White House plaza.

With respect to the “failure to obey a lawful order” charge, you heard testimony that our actions were in accordance with the First Amendment to petition the government for a redress of grievances. You heard defense witnesses say that this was our sole purpose for being on the White House sidewalk.

With respect to our violating 36 CFR 7.96 (5) (E) (viii), the government has failed to prove the central element of this provision: that we defendants were stationary holding a sign when we were arrested. Both Lt. Lechance and Officer Crowley testified that they saw none of the defendants being stationary and holding sign prior to their arrest.

With respect to the defense assertion regarding the selective enforcement of regulations on the WH sidewalk, I want to reiterate that many of us on trial here have witnessed tour groups, school groups and other groups being stationary on the WH sidewalk with signs or banners and never even be approached by Park Police, let alone be threatened with arrest. I personally want to attest to the fact that several years ago, I was part of a group praying around a cross on Good Friday for one hour in the picture post card area on the WH sidewalk and we were not arrested.

I would now like to address the defense assertion that we acted lawfully on March 19 at the White House.

As was stated in our pre-trial motion by Mr. Duffee and opening statement by Mr. Barrows, and by defense witnesses, International laws and treaties which the U.S. signed, have been, and continues to be blatantly violated. The Nuremberg Principles, which the United States helped write, state that individuals have a duty to prevent crimes against humanity from occurring and that if people don’t act to prevent such crimes, they are actually complicit in them. Mr. Elliott just offered eloquent testimony in this regard. We, who are on trial today, along with many others, including our friends here in court to support us, refuse to be complicit in these crimes.


We acted lawfully, in accordance with International laws and treaties. International law is an integral part of U.S. constitutional & domestic law. Treaties and international executive agreements such as the UN Charter & Nuremberg Charter are “the supreme law of the land” under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution and are binding on every US court, including this one. When US government and military officials commit acts of aggression like in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, that clearly violate the U.S. Constitution, we, as citizens, have a duty and responsibility to address it. We emphasize that our intent on March 19 was not to commit a crime but to prevent a crime, to keep the law not break the law. Judge Canan, although you have ruled that International law is not a valid defense in this case, we ask you to please reconsider your position and reverse your ruling in light of all the evidence we have presented. What more evidence is needed to show the applicability of international law in this case than the testimony and closing statement we just heard from Mr. Adams (regarding atrocities he was ordered to carry out in Vietnam–actions he now knows were in violation of International humanitarian law).

 As Mr. Carlyle, Mr. Wenk, Ms. Nichalson, and Mr. Elliott all testified, we have tried lobbying, writing letters, and signing petitions to end U.S. warmaking, including the use of private U.S. military contractors and mercenaries, but to no avail. This is especially true right now in Afghanistan. We acted on March 19 because there were no other political or legal alternatives available to us as the executive and legislative branches of government continue to wage war. We acted to prevent an imminent harm from occurring. People are dying now as a direct result of U.S. Drone attacks and other U.S. military actions just as they were dying at the time of our March 19 action. These people aren’t merely statistics– they have names and families. We seldom hear in the media who the innocent dead really are! For example, you heard Joan Nichalson testify that on March 1, 2011, U.S. military forces in a helicopter gunship, killed nine boys in Afghanistan as they collected firewood. But do we know their names? Do we know anything about them or their families? Do we, as society, even care? The youngest of the boys killed was named Shahidullah, son of Rahman–he was 7 years old, 7 years old! As the father of a young son, I went to the White House on March 19 to be a voice for Shahidullah.

Judge Canan, who will speak for the victims? What recourse do we, as citizens have, when people, even young children, are being killed indiscriminately, but to engage in nonviolent acts to seek redress such as we did. What recourse do we have when an estimated 2 million Iraqis have died over the last 20 years as direct result of US bombings, US-UN lead sanctions and US invasion. Seared into my soul is one victim of our sanctions-war policy, seven month-old Zahra-Ali, a tiny emaciated baby girl I met who was near death when I visited Iraq in 1998. According to the non-partisan organization, Just Foreign Policy, which draws on figures compiled by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, the group Iraq Body Count and the British Polling Agency, Opinion Research Business, it is estimated that nearly 1.5 million Iraqis have died due to the US invasion of Iraq which began on March 19, 2003.

With respect to the US war in Afghanistan, according to Wikipedia, tens of thousands of Afghans have died since 2001 from displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment and lawlessness resulting from the war.

Finally, we acted in accordance with Divine and moral law which mandates people of faith and conscience to renounce all killing, to beat swords into plowshares and to abolish war.

Simply put, this a really a trial about State-sanctioned murder. We acted on March 19 to stop the US government from murdering people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. We acted to save lives. We implore you, Judge Canan, to take this truth to heart.

On March 19, our message on the White House plaza was clear for all to hear: end the wars, bring the war money home now and meet urgent human needs, and free imprisoned military whistle-blower Private Bradley Manning!

Judge Canan, for all these reasons we submit that we had a right to be on the White House sidewalk, that our actions were lawful, and that the police order to leave was not a lawful order, and thus we had no reason to comply with itThus, we should never have been arrested! (Regarding these matters we again ask you to consider the District Court of Appeals case of Striet et. al. and how it applies to this one).

In closing we ask:  Where are the judges and the legal professionals when it comes to confronting the criminal acts of our government?  Will we be here five years from now making the same plea? How many more people have to suffer and die before we end our government’s murderous warmaking?
This is an historic moment.  If justice and peace is to come for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, it will happen because judges like you spoke out and people from across the political spectrum took nonviolent action to petition our government to make this a reality.

St. Paul writes: “Love is the fulfillment of the law.”  As you determine the outcome of this case, we appeal to you to act in the name of love, in the name of victims, in the name of truth and justice.

Judge Canan, you have legal ground to stand on in finding us not guilty. The time is now for justice and the law to meet and be clearly applied in this case. We appeal to your conscience to acquit us of all charges. We respectfully invite you, along with Prosecutor’s Barnett and Pierce, to join with us to work for the abolition of war and create a nonviolent world. Thank you very much for listening to me.”

Postscript: Judge Canan found each of the 19 Defendant’s guilty of Failure to Obey a Lawful Order and Disorderly Conduct/Blocking Passage. He sentenced each of them to pay a fine of $50.00, plus make two contributions to the Victims of Violent Crimes Fund in the amount of $100.00 each.   




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We Know

We Know

They disappeared

caskets of dead

soldiers coming home;

cameras out of view.

We knew.

They did not count

all they killed;

the killed do not count

at all.

We knew.

They said the

mission was accomplished.

They said the

mission was through.

Mission Untrue.

We knew.

Murder and maim,

democracy’s name.

Murder and maim

and use our name.

Death for sale by enterprise.

Devil’s bargains stealing souls.

We know. We know. We know.

CODE ORANGE: Amendments missing!

Description: 1,4,5,8,13

If you see them,


Their mother is worried.

Reward for safe return.

We know.

Supreme Court fire sale:

Half off for

Politicians while they last.

We know.


Afghan children.

Dead Iraqi


Dead Palestinian children.

We are the greatest

nation in the world. Dead Afghan



Iraqi children.

Dead Palestinian children.

A plague on both your Houses

of Congress. A plague

on the House that is White.

We know.

Torture in secret.

plane trips to hell;

Bored with water?

Don’t ask

and Don’t tell.

We know.

Robots loom the skies alone.

Robots in command. Let them protest

all they want

but still they’ll pay the bill. We know.

Terror reigns as they terrorize.

Terror never was

if they close their eyes.

We know.

They raid at night while

families sleep,

never waking like the dead.

Impeach for treason; Sue for peace.

The poorest among us

now all among us. We know.


Too Late

Stress Syndrome.

We know.

State your occupation please:





We know.

Ibn Khaldun: Government

is an institution which prevents injustice

Other than such as

it commits itself.

We know.



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The Fiddle and the Drum: Memorial Day 2011

On this Memorial Day, 2011, Joni Mitchell’s Fiddle and the Drum is sadly all too relevant. As a Canadian, Joni composed the song in 1969 to tell the United States how “we have all come to fear the beating of your drum.” I have been singing this song ever since. It is a piece of my soul.  I share it today in memory of the untold numbers who Amercia has killed while beating the drums of war.

And so once again
My dear Johnny my dear friend
And so once again you are fightin’ us all
And when I ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry, and I fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum

You say I have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But I can remember
All the good things you are
And so I ask you please
Can I help you find the peace and the star
Oh, my friend
What time is this
To trade the handshake for the fist

And so once again
Oh, America my friend
And so once again
You are fighting us all
And when we ask you why
You raise your sticks and cry and we fall
Oh, my friend
How did you come
To trade the fiddle for the drum

You say we have turned
Like the enemies you’ve earned
But we can remember
All the good things you are
And so we ask you please
Can we help you find the peace and the star
Oh my friend
We have all come
To fear the beating of your drum

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