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N.D. Cal.

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Hill v. Williams (1:16-cv-2627) and Harlos v. Morrissey (1:16-cv-2649) (Christine M. Arguello, D. Colo.), Silberberg v. Board of Elections (P. Kevin Castel, S.D.N.Y. 1:16-cv-8336), and ACLU of Northern California v. Padilla (William Alsup, N.D. Cal. 3:16-cv-6287)
From eight to 15 days before the 2016 general election, federal actions in three states sought relief from proscriptions on “ballot selfies”—photographs of ballots taken by voters completing them. These actions and previous actions in three other states pitted freedom of expression against the secret ballot. Some district and circuit judges favored freedom of expression; others favored the secret ballot.
Subject: Polling place activities. Topics: Laches; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Baca v. Hickenlooper (Wiley Y. Daniel, D. Colo. 1:16-cv-2986), Chiafalo v. Inslee (James L. Robart, W.D. Wash. 2:16-cv-1886), Koller v. Brown (Edward J. Davila, N.D. Cal. 5:16-cv-7069), and Abdurrahman v. Dayton (Paul A. Magnuson, D. Minn. No. 0:16-cv-4279)
After one party’s candidate earned more votes in the 2016 presidential election, but the other party’s candidate earned more Electoral College votes, electors in four states won by the popular-vote victor filed federal complaints to relieve electors from voting as pledged. No federal court granted any plaintiff immediate relief. But in 2019, a court of appeals ruled that the Constitution requires states to allow electors to vote as they please.
Subject: Voting irregularities. Topics: Electoral College; intervention; laches.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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Padilla v. Lever (Alicemarie H. Stotler, 8:02-cv-1145), Imperial v. Castruita (R. Gary Klausner, 2:05-cv- 8940), and Chinchay v. Verjil (Audrey B. Collins, 2:06-cv-1637) (C.D. Cal.) and Madrigal v. County of Monterey (5:06-cv-1407), Melendez v. Board of Supervisors (5:06-cv-1730), Rangel v. County of Monterey (6:06-cv-2202), and Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition v. Board of Supervisors (6:06-cv- 2369) (James Ware) and Heredia v. Santa Clara County (Ronald M. Whyte, 6:06-cv-4718) (N.D. Cal.)
After nearly four years of litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that recall petitions do not have to be offered in multiple languages. The litigation began with a December 12, 2002, complaint challenging a petition to recall a member of Santa Ana, California’s school board in a February 4 election. Ultimately, the litigation included complaints filed in 2005 and 2006 as well.
Subject: Recall elections. Topics: Ballot language; ballot measure; recusal.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Martinez v. Monterey County (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal. 5:05-cv-2950)
A federal complaint challenged a ballot initiative as different in wording from the text circulated for ballot-access signatures and challenged the change in wording as a change in election procedures requiring preclearance pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In parallel litigation, the state’s supreme court provisionally ruled that the electorate should not be denied an opportunity to vote on the initiative unless the text discrepancies were sufficiently misleading. A three-judge federal district court declined to interfere with state proceedings because the state court also had jurisdiction over the federal question. The initiative failed and the state’s supreme court subsequently ruled that the text discrepancies were not so great as to merit an injunction against including the initiative on the ballot.
Subject: Ballot measures. Topics: Ballot language; ballot measure; section 5 preclearance; matters for state courts; three-judge court; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Salazar v. Monterey County (5:03-cv-3584) and Oliverez v. California (5:03-cv-3658) (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal.); Hernandez v. Merced County (1:03-cv-6147) and Gallegos v. California (1:03-cv-6157) (Oliver W. Wanger, E.D. Cal.)
When the state set a special election on whether to recall the governor, a ballot initiative was moved from a primary election to the earlier special election. Separate federal cases alleged that the recall and the early ballot initiative could not be held because they had not been precleared pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as required for four of California’s counties. The state obtained preclearance just as a three-judge district court met to review the case. The judge presiding over two similar cases in another of the state’s districts allowed the court presiding over the cases filed earlier to decide the issues.
Subject: Recall elections. Topics: Section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; enjoining elections; news media; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Buell v. Monterey County (Jeremy Fogel, N.D. Cal. 5:10-cv-1952)
A federal complaint alleged that polling place consolidations and the date of the election had not been precleared for a special election to fill a vacancy in the state senate, as required by section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for a county overlapping with the senate district. By the time a three-judge district court met to hear the case, the special election had been precleared.
Subject: Election dates. Topics: Poll locations; section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; enjoining elections; intervention.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Voting Rights Defense Project v. Depuis (William Alsup, N.D. Cal. 3:16-cv-2739)
A federal complaint filed 18 nights before a primary election accused election officials in two counties of not adequately informing independent voters of their rights to vote in some parties’ presidential primary elections. A week later, the plaintiffs sought to shorten time on a motion for a preliminary injunction, but they did not file their injunction motion until the district judge brought the deficit to their attention. Six days before the election, the judge held a hearing and denied immediate relief. On the one hand, the plaintiffs waited too long to achieve effective relief. On the other hand, there was only a weak showing of federal jurisdiction.
Topics: Matters for state courts; laches; primary election; party procedures; early voting; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

The Patent Pilot Program (PPP), a ten-year pilot program addressing the assignment of patent cases in certain U.S. district courts, was established on January 4, 2011, by Pub. L. No. 111-349. At the request of the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, the Federal Judicial Center has been studying the PPP since the program's inception. This midpoint report presents key findings from the first five years of the program, gathering data for all patent cases filed on or after the individual PPP start date designated by each of the 13 current pilot courts through January 5, 2016. In that time, just over 12,000 patent cases were filed in the participating pilot districts.

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In 2010, the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules requested a study of motions for sanctions based on an allegation that the nonmoving party had destroyed evidence, especially electronically stored information (ESI). The study examined the electronic docket records of civil cases filed in 2007–2008 in 19 districts, including at least one district in every circuit except the District of Columbia Circuit. This report summarizes the findings of that study and, where appropriate, compares those findings to other studies.

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