In the suit, Johnson’s attorneys argue that the rules of the televised debates, which are set by the major parties, are deliberately structured to bar third party candidates and quash their candidacies. The suit asks that the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. therefore impose a temporary restraining order blocking the debates until all “constitutionally eligible” candidates be allowed to participate.
“The view that presidential debates are critical to the outcome of the election is now universally held,” the suit reads. “From that premise, it follows that the participation by a candidate in the nationally-televised debates is equally critical to his or her candidacy.”
The debate rules specify that to be included, candidates must receive at least 15% in a major poll. Most major polls do not even list Johnson as an option.
The suit argues that since the president and vice president are paid a salary, the pursuit of the White House can be defined as commerce and thus be regulated by the Sherman Antitrust Act.
“In agreeing to these rules to exclude the plaintiff from participating in the debates, the defendants are conspiring and contracting to restrain the plaintiffs from participating in the electoral process,” it reads.