Justia Election Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals
Petteway, et al. v. Henry, et al.
This case arose from a dispute between plaintiffs, seven elected officials and one citizen, and Galveston County, challenging the County's redistricting following the 2010 census. At issue was whether plaintiffs were the prevailing parties, entitling them to attorney's fees. The court reversed and remanded the district court's award of fees, holding that plaintiffs were not prevailing parties because the injunctive relief plaintiffs achieved was not material to the outcome of the case and, alternatively, nor did this relief directly or materially benefit plaintiffs. View "Petteway, et al. v. Henry, et al." on Justia Law
Texans for Free Enterprise v. Texas Ethics Commission, et al.
TFE filed suit against the Commission seeking an injunction and a declaration that the relevant portions of the Texas Election Code violated the First Amendment as applied to TFE. The district court preliminarily enjoined the enforcement of Tex. Elec. Code 253.094(a) - which prohibits corporations from making an unauthorized political contribution - and 253.003(b) - where an individual may not knowingly accept a political contribution - against TFE and the Commission appealed the injunction. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by issuing a preliminary injunction because TFE was likely to succeed on the merits and because the manifest equities weighed in favor of equitable relief. Accordingly, the court affirmed the order granting the injunction. View "Texans for Free Enterprise v. Texas Ethics Commission, et al." on Justia Law
Janvey v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign, et al
The Stanford Defendants brought this case under the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (TUFTA), Tex. Bus. & Com. Code 24.001 et seq., to recover approximately $1.6 million in political contributions made to various political committees by the Stanford Defendants between 2000 and 2008. Because the court concluded that (1) the Receiver could stand in the shoes of the creditors of the Stanford Defendants, (2) the Receiver's TUFTA claims were brought within one year after the transfers were or reasonably could have been discovered by the claimant, and (3) they were not preempted, the court rejected the Committees' arguments and affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Janvey v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign, et al" on Justia Law
Leag. of Untd. Latin Amer. Ctzn. v. City of Boerne, et al.
LULAC filed suit against the City alleging that the voting method adopted by the City Charter diluted minority voting strength, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973. The City and LULAC settled in December 1996, and the district court entered a consent decree in accordance with the parties' settlement. At issue on appeal was whether the district court properly granted a joint motion by the City and LULAC to modify temporarily the consent decree. Because the court concluded that the district court erred in approving the temporary modification without following the procedures mandated by an earlier panel, the court vacated the district court's order and remanded for further proceedings. View "Leag. of Untd. Latin Amer. Ctzn. v. City of Boerne, et al." on Justia Law
Wilson v. Birnberg, et al.
Plaintiff brought suit against various officials arising from his name not being placed on the 2010 primary election ballot in Houston, Texas. Plaintiff's complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim. The court held that no equitable relief was appropriate either because the relief was moot or because the court determined when examining the claims for damages that no constitutional violation occurred that would support such relief. The court also held that plaintiff lacked an interest protected by procedural due process and affirmed the district court's dismissal of that cause; plaintiff's interpretation of Anderson v. Celebrezze was not applicable; plaintiff's claims were rooted in procedural due process and his substantive due process claim failed; the dismissal of the equal protection claim was reversed and remanded where further proceedings were needed to determine whether plaintiff in fact submitted a proper application and, if he did, whether the Harris County Democratic Party Chairman purposefully discriminated or simply made an error or mistake of judgment; and the challenged election statute was constitutional. View "Wilson v. Birnberg, et al." on Justia Law
Wilson v. Birnberg, et al.
Plaintiff brought suit against various officials arising from his name not being placed on the 2010 primary election ballot in Houston. Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his complaint for failure to state a claim. The court held that plaintiff's procedural due process claim was properly rejected where plaintiff had no property right to be a candidate. The court also held that plaintiff's substantive due process claim failed because there were no disputed facts regarding plaintiff's application containing an incorrect residential address where plaintiff made an oral admission that he did not live at the listed address. The court further held that plaintiff's Equal Protection claim was properly denied where the actions of the official at issue did not constitute intentional or purposeful discrimination. The court finally held that plaintiff failed to establish that Section 141.032(e) of the Texas Election Code was unconstitutional. Accordingly, because plaintiff filed his application for candidacy in the last hour of the last possible day, which limited his opportunity to refile a correct application, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Wilson v. Birnberg, et al." on Justia Law
League of United Latin American Citizens v. City of Boerne
Appellant sought to intervene in a suit under the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1973, that was originally filed in 1996 by the League of United Latin American Citizens, District 19 (LULAC), against the city of Boerne, Texas. LULAC and the city reached a settlement agreement in 1996 and the district court entered a consent decree which provided that city council members would thereafter be elected through at-large elections with cumulative voting. In 2009, LULAC and the city filed a joint motion to reopen the case and modify the consent decree in order to switch to a single-member-district system. The district court granted that motion and appellant, a resident and registered voter of Boerne who opposed the change, filed a motion to intervene. Appellant subsequently appealed the district court's denial of his motion on the grounds that appellant lacked standing. The court held that appellant had standing; that the case was not moot; and appellant had a right to intervene in the case under Rule 24(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's denial of appellant's motion to intervene. The court also held that the district court had the power to modify the consent decree; but the district court abused its discretion in granting LULAC and the city's motion to modify because the record did not show that modifications were warranted. Therefore, the court vacated and remanded the district court's order granting the modified consent decree. View "League of United Latin American Citizens v. City of Boerne" on Justia Law