Articles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals

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NYPPP filed suit against election officials and others to enjoin enforcement of New York State Election Law 14-114(8) and 14-126(2). Section 14-114(8) imposed a $150,000 aggregate annual limit on certain political contributions by any person in New York State. Section 14-126(2) made it a misdemeanor to fail to file required statements or to knowingly and willfully violate any other provision of the Election Law. NYPPP would be prevented from receiving more than $150,000 from any individual contributor in any calendar year. The court concluded that NYPPP had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; there were important public interests at stake which were weighed against the hardships suffered by NYPPP; and the hardships faced by NYPPP and its donors from the denial of relief was significant. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's order denying the preliminary injunction. View "New York Progress and Protection PAC v. Walsh, et al." on Justia Law

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NOM, a nonprofit advocacy organization, appealed the district court's dismissal of its amended complaint for lack of subject-matter-jurisdiction. NOM was seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, arguing that New York Election Law 14-100.1, which defined the term "political committee" for the purposes of state elections, violated the First Amendment. The court determined that NOM's case presented a live controversy that was ripe for consideration and vacated the district court's determination that it lacked jurisdiction. Because that conclusion prevented the district court from reaching the merits of NOM's claims, the court declined to comment on the substance of NOM's claims in the first instance. Therefore, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "National Organization for Marriage, Inc. v. Walsh" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, black and Hispanic registered voters in Albany County, sued the County and the Board of Elections (collectively, defendants) for enacting a redistricting plan for the Albany County Legislature (Local Law C) in response to the 2010 United States census that allegedly diluted black and Hispanic voting strength in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), 42 U.S.C. 1973, by failing to provide for five majority-minority districts (MMDs). The court concluded that plaintiffs' appeal was not moot, even though the challenged elections have not taken place. While the court identified legal error in the district court's determination that plaintiffs failed to make the majority-minority showing required to satisfy the first step of a vote dilution claim as identified in Thornburg v. Gingles, the court identified no error in the district court's determination that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success as the third majority bloc-voting step of the Gingles inquiry, or in the court's denial of preliminary injunctive relief on that ground. View "Pope v. County of Albany" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that recently-enacted amendments to the New York City Administrative Code, commonly known as the "pay-to-play" rules, violated the First Amendment by unduly burdening protected political speech and association, the Fourteenth Amendment by denying equal protection of the laws, and the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973. The challenged provisions (1) reduced below the generally-applicable campaign contribution limited the amounts that people who have business dealings with the city, including lobbyists, could contribute to political campaigns; (2) denied matching funds for contributions by people who have business dealings with the city and certain people associated with lobbyists; and (3) extended the existing prohibition on corporate contributions to partnerships, LLCs, and LLPs. The court affirmed summary judgment as to all three provisions, finding that the laws were closely drawn to address the significant governmental interest in reducing corruption or the appearance thereof. View "Ognibene, et al. v. Parkes, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a group of prospective political candidates, petition circulators, and voters, appealed from the district court's order awarding summary judgment to the Board of Elections in the City of New York and upholding the State's "Party Witness Rule." The Rule, contained in New York Election Law 6-132, limited who a candidate for a political party's nomination could use to circulate so-called "designating petitions," which allowed the candidate to appear on the party primary ballot. Unless the circulator was a notary public or commissioner of deeds, the Party Witness Rule restricted designating petition circulators to "enrolled voter[s] of the same political party as the voters qualified to sign the petition," the party in whose primary the candidate sought to run. The court held that because plaintiffs were without a right to have non-party members participate in a political party's nomination process, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "Maslow v. Board of Elections, NYC" on Justia Law