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Removal of an Elected Official as a Violation of Voting Rights

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
February 10, 2017
Available Online Only

Kuhn v. Thompson (Mark E. Fuller, M.D. Ala. 2:03-cv-1136)
A 2003 complaint challenged the disciplinary removal of Alabama’s chief justice for his violating a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the court building’s rotunda. The district judge denied the plaintiffs immediate injunctive relief and granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint. (1) The defendants were entitled to Younger v. Harris abstention because the chief justice’s appeal to Alabama’s supreme court was still pending. (2) The defendants were entitled to judicial immunity. (3) The plaintiffs failed to state a valid claim because the right to elect the chief justice did not include a right to keep him in office for his whole term.
Topics: Matters for state courts; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; enforcing orders.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.