Justia Election Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Louisiana Supreme Court
Clark, et al. v. Bridges, et al.
Plaintiffs Yasha Clark and Morgan Walker petitioned to disqualify defendant Stephanie Bridges as a candidate for the office of Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge, Division B. Plaintiffs alleged that Bridges falsely certified that she had filed her state and federal income taxes for the prior five years. The specific issue before the Louisiana Supreme Court in this matter was whether Bridges' 2021 state tax returns were electronically filed at the time she filed her notice of candidacy. Bridges used a tax preparation business, Mobile Tax, LLC, to have her 2021 federal and state tax returns filed electronically. Mobile Tax gave Bridges a letter on company letterhead that the tax returns were filed. Approximately one hour later, Bridges filed a sworn notice of candidacy to declare her intent to run for District Court Judge. In a letter from the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR), the agency indicated it did not have a 2021 tax return on file for Bridges; a representative testified she did not know if the LDR was capable of seeing the mechanism by which the tax returns were filed or how long it takes the LDR to process and record the filing of electronically filed returns. The federal Internal Revenue Service was able to confirm receipt of the electronically filed federal return. After review, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the judgment sustaining an objection to candidacy. Defendant's candidacy was reinstated because, at the time of her candidacy, she complied with the statutory law and administrative regulations related to filing her income tax return. View "Clark, et al. v. Bridges, et al." on Justia Law
Posted in: Election Law, Louisiana Supreme Court
Deal v. Perkins et al.
Adrian Perkins, the then-current mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, sought reelection to that office. On July 22, 2022, Perkins signed and filed a notice of candidacy form, as required by La. R.S. 18:461 to become a candidate in a primary election. The requirements for the notice of candidacy set forth in La. R.S. 18:463 include a requirement that the candidate certify nine items. It was undisputed Perkins signed the form certifying all required statements and that his certification as to Item 8 on the notice of candidacy form, was incorrect. Perkins has two residences–Stratmore Circle and Marshall Street– both within the city of Shreveport. Although Perkins was registered to vote at the Stratmore Circle address at the time of his qualification, it was undisputed he maintained a homestead exemption at the Marshall Street residence. The two residences were in different voting precincts. Francis Deal, a qualified elector, filed a “Petition in Objection to Candidacy” asserting Perkins’ false certification on the notice of candidacy form disqualified him from being a candidate for mayor pursuant to La. R.S. 18:492. Deal also asserted that pursuant to La. R.S. 18:101(B), Perkins was required to be registered to vote in the precinct where he claimed his homestead exemption, and his failure to do so caused him to be an unqualified elector and candidate. After considering the evidence, the district court disqualified Perkins as a candidate in the primary election for the office of the Mayor of the city of Shreveport. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed, holding that only those false certifications specifically listed in La. R.S. 18:492(A)(5) through (7) constituted grounds for objecting to a candidate. Because the certification at issue in this case was not specifically listed in La. R.S. 18:492, it could not serve as a basis to disqualify the candidate here. View "Deal v. Perkins et al." on Justia Law
Shepherd v. Schedler
In 2015, Derrick Shepherd filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment and for Injunctive Relief. He filed a notice of candidacy qualifying form with the Jefferson Parish Clerk of Court’s office in which he certified that he would be a candidate for the office of State Representative for District 87 of the Louisiana House of Representatives in the primary election to be held on October 24, 2015. Shepherd's petition alleged that the District Attorney for the Twenty-Fourth Judicial District, filed a petition objecting to Shepherd's candidacy because Shepherd pled guilty to a felony in a United States District Court in 2008, and it had been less than fifteen years since he completed his sentence, circumstances which disqualified Shepherd from seeking office pursuant to La. Const. art. I, section 10(B). At the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing, the district court rendered judgment in Shepherd’s favor, declaring Article I, section 10(B) of the Constitution null and void for failure to comply with the requirements of Article XIII, section 1 of the Constitution for promulgation of amendments to the Constitution. After reviewing the record, the legislative instruments, and the constitutional provision at issue, the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed with the district court that the constitutionally mandated requirements for amending the constitution were not followed in this case. View "Shepherd v. Schedler" on Justia Law
Posted in: Constitutional Law, Election Law, Louisiana Supreme Court
Louisiana v. Gibson
The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether the State could directly enforce Article I, section 10 of the Louisiana Constitution to prevent a candidate from taking public office without regard to the Election Code's lime limits on challenges to candidacy. Answering in the affirmative, the Court reversed the appellate court's ruling and reinstated the trial court's ruling. View "Louisiana v. Gibson" on Justia Law
Marcille v. Dauzat
The issue before the Supreme Court in this case concerned Defendants’ entitlement to trial by jury. Specifically, whether the Court’s holding in "Beauclaire v. Greenhouse" mandated that a resolution in accordance with La. R.S. 13:5015, waiving the prohibition against jury trials in suits against a political subdivision, must be passed by the political subdivision prior to a plaintiff filing suit for the political subdivision to be entitled to a trial by jury. Upon review of the applicable statutory and case law authority, the Supreme Court found that Defendants were entitled to trial by jury, and therefore reversed the rulings of the lower courts. View "Marcille v. Dauzat" on Justia Law