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Campaign Activities

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Gonzalez Garza v. Starr County (Randy Crane, S.D. Tex. 7:18-cv-46)
A federal district judge declared unconstitutionally vague an apparent proscription against electioneering on county-owned property adjacent to voting locations, finding that the apparent order was expressed merely as a desire. Litigation continued during several amendments to the policy and several amendments to the complaint.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign materials; early voting.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Democratic National Committee v. Republican National Committee (Dickinson R. Debevoise and John Michael Vazquez, D.N.J. 2:81-cv-3876), Arizona Democratic Party v. Arizona Republican Party (John J. Tuchi, D. Ariz. 2:16-cv-3752), Nevada State Democratic Party v. Nevada Republican Party (Richard F. Boulware II, D. Nev. 2:16-cv-2514), Ohio Democratic Party v. Ohio Republican Party (James S. Gwin, N.D. Ohio 1:16-cv-2645), Pennsylvania Democratic Party v. Republican Party of Pennsylvania (Paul S. Diamond, E.D. Pa. 2:16-cv-5664), North Carolina Democratic Party v. North Carolina Republican Party (Catherine C. Eagles, M.D.N.C. 1:16-cv-1288), and Michigan Democratic Party v. Michigan Republican Party (Mark A. Goldsmith, E.D. Mich. 2:16-cv-13924)
In 2004, a voter in Ohio moved to intervene in a 1981 District of New Jersey case, complaining that widespread voter registration challenges in Ohio violated a consent decree between the two major political parties in the New Jersey case. On the day before the election, the district court in New Jersey granted injunctive relief. A panel of the court of appeals, over a dissent, denied the defendants a stay, but the full court ordered en banc review on election day. Because the plaintiff was allowed to vote, the appeal was subsequently declared moot. In 2016, a suit was again filed in the District of New Jersey to enforce and extend the consent decree. Related actions were filed in six other states, plaintiffs were denied immediate relief there, and the actions were dismissed voluntarily after the election. A little more than one year later, the consent decree was terminated.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Registration challenges; intervention; enforcing orders; laches; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Scott v. Roberts (Robert L. Hinkle, N.D. Fla. 4:10-cv-283)
A self-funded gubernatorial candidate filed a federal complaint challenging public matching campaign funds for an opponent triggered by the plaintiff’s spending above a specified threshold. The district court determined that the provision combated corruption by promoting public campaign financing, but the court of appeals issued a preliminary injunction against the provision because it was not the least restrictive way to combat corruption. After the Supreme Court invalidated a similar provision in another state, the district judge issued a permanent injunction against the provision.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign finance; intervention; primary election.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Missourians for Fiscal Accountability v. Klahr (Ortrie D. Smith, W.D. Mo. 2:14-cv-4287)
A district court’s temporary restraining order blocked a proscription on forming a campaign committee fewer than 30 days before an election. After the election, the district judge determined that the case was not moot, but he later determined that it was not ripe. The court of appeals concluded that the case was ripe, and the district judge then issued a summary judgment that the proscription was unconstitutional. The court of appeals agreed, and the district judge awarded the plaintiff $158,055.80 in attorney fees and costs.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign finance; attorney fees; recusal; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Amsterdam v. KITV 4 (David Alan Ezra, D. Haw. 1:10-cv-253) and Moseley v. Hawaii (Susan Oki Mollway, D. Haw. 1:10-cv-255)
Two minor candidates for a special congressional election filed pro se emergency actions in the federal court to compel their inclusion in separate televised candidate forums. The district judges denied the plaintiffs relief on the papers.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: News media; pro se party.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

National Organization for Marriage v. McKee (D. Brock Hornby and John H. Rich III, D. Me. 1:09-cv-538)
Advocacy organizations filed a federal challenge to campaign finance reporting regulations two weeks before an election including a ballot initiative. Able to rule before the election, the court denied the plaintiffs injunctive relief. After the election, the court of appeals affirmed the legal holding.
Subject Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign finance; ballot measure.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Sloan v. Hearst Media Co. (Paul J. Barbadoro, D.N.H. 1:16-cv-52)
A pro se federal complaint filed on the afternoon of the day of presidential primary elections challenged the plaintiff’s exclusion from televised debates and challenged the refusal of a television station to air the plaintiff’s paid ads. The district judge denied the plaintiff a temporary restraining order on the day that the complaint was filed for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(b)(1)’s notice requirements for a temporary restraining order. A little over two months later, a magistrate judge reviewed the complaint and recommended its dismissal. Reviewing the plaintiff’s objections, the district judge adopted the recommendation, and the court of appeals affirmed the dismissal.​
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign materials; pro se party; primary election.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

New York Progress and Protection PAC v. Walsh (Paul A. Crotty, S.D.N.Y. 1:13-cv-6769)
On September 25, 2013, a political action committee filed a federal complaint challenging campaign contribution limits. On October 17, the district judge denied a preliminary injunction against decades-old limits challenged in an emergency case that could have been brought earlier. On October 24, the court of appeals ordered the district judge to issue a preliminary injunction. Six months later, the district judge awarded the political action committee summary judgment, and the parties later agreed to an attorney fee award of $360,000.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign finance; interlocutory appeal; laches; attorney fees.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Citizens for Clean Government v. San Diego (Napoleon A. Jones, Jr., S.D. Cal. 3:03-cv-1215)
A June 20, 2013, federal complaint challenged contribution limits for a city council recall effort. In an interlocutory appeal, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of immediate relief. The recall effort did not qualify for the ballot, and the incumbent was reelected. On appeal from the final judgment, the court of appeals ruled in 2007 that the district court had not required sufficient justification for the contribution limits.
Subject: Campaign activities. Topics: Campaign finance; intervention; case assignment.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

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