Ralph Nader

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Ralph Nader (born February 27, 1934) is an American attorney and political activist in the areas of consumer rights, humanitarianism, environmentalism and democratic government. Nader has been a staunch critic of corporations, which he believes wield too much power and are undermining the fundamental American values of democracy and human rights. He helped found many governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Public Citizen, and several public interest research groups.

The Atlantic Monthly, in its list of the "100 most influential Americans," ranked Nader 96: "He made the cars we drive safer; thirty years later, he made George W. Bush the president;"[1] others discount his role in the 2000 presidential election.

Nader ran for President four times (in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004). In 1992 he ran as a Democrat in the Democratic primaries. In 1996 and 2000, he was the nominee of the Green Party; in 2004, he ran as the nominee of the Reform Party.

Nader v. Democratic National Committee

In 2004, Democratic party operatives waged an intense, multi-state signature blocking effort to make sure that Nader's name appeared on as few state ballots as possible. When Nader ran for President in 2000, he earned enough votes to be the margin of difference between the two major party candidates, George Bush and Al Gore.

Determined that this not happen again, a consortium of attorneys and political operatives went into a number of states where Nader's supporters were running petition drives to quality Nader for a spot on the ballot. In these states, they used a variety of tactics to deny Nader access.

In October 2007, Nader filed a lawsuit, Ralph Nader v. Democratic National Committee, arguing that this multi-state blocking campaign constituted an illegal conspiracy to deny him ballot status.

Nader v. State of Hawaii

In 2004, Nader and the Constitution Party filed suit against the state of Hawaii saying that its ballot access laws were too stringent, requiring five times as many signatures for an independent presidential candidate, as for an entire new party.

For four years the Hawaii court system has been postponing this case, waiting for the State Supreme Court to issue a ruling in a related case also filed by Nader and the Constitution Party. Nader did receive a hearing in a Federal Hawaii court on March 4, 2008.[2]

Nader may finally have his lawsuit against Hawaii (Nader v Nago) heard by the US Supreme Court. Before the court decides to review the case, a response was requested from the Hawaii Office of Elections. The brief, now received by the court, argues that the requirements for independent candidates are fair because they are allotted more time than other candidates to collect signatures and independent candidates do not have to prepare for a primary election. In either case, the Supreme Court must now decide whether to review the case.[3][4]

Notes

  • An Unreasonable Man (2006). An Unreasonable Man is a documentary film about Ralph Nader that appeared at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
  • Burden, Barry C. (2005). Ralph Nader's Campaign Strategy in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election 2005, American Politics Research 33:672-99.
  • Ralph Nader: Up Close This film blends archival footage and scenes of Nader and his staff at work in Washington with interviews with Nader's family, friends and adversaries, as well as Nader himself. Written, directed and produced by Mark Litwak and Tiiu Lukk, 1990, color, 72 mins. Narration by Studs Terkel. Broadcast on PBS. Winner, Sinking Creek Film Festival; Best of Festival, Baltimore Int'l Film Festival; Silver Plaque, Chicago Int'l Film Festival, Silver Apple, National Educational Film & Video Festival.
  • Martin, Justin. Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon. Perseus Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-7382-0563-X

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