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Eye On Boise

Federal judge in Idaho’s closed-primary election case: More hearings needed

In Idaho GOP vs. Ysursa, a federal lawsuit filed against the state by the Idaho Republican Party seeking to declare Idaho's primary election system unconstitutional - and let the Republican party hold primary elections that are closed to anyone but registered Republicans - both sides have been waiting since February for some ruling from the court. Both sides had filed summary judgment motions seeking to either dismiss or grant the party's bid; U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill held a hearing on those motions on Feb. 18. Now, today, he's issued his ruling - he's denied all the motions for summary judgment, and ruled instead that he needs to hold a full trial or evidentiary hearing to decide the complex constitutional issues raised by the case.

"Time is of the essence," the judge wrote in his ruling today. "The Court hopes to conduct the trial or evidentiary hearing and issue a final decision well before the 2010 Idaho legislative session begins."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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