Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

by
Mark Moore and two others filed suit against the Arkansas Secretary of State, challenging certain Arkansas statutes that set the filing deadline for individuals who wish to appear on the general election ballot as independent candidates. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the filing deadline is unnecessarily early and thus violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiffs sought to enjoin the Secretary from enforcing this deadline against Moore. The district court granted the Secretary's motion for summary judgment and denied Moore's motion for reconsideration. The court concluded that the district court correctly noted that the March 1 filing deadline for independent candidates imposes a burden "of some substance" on Moore's First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and that Arkansas has a compelling interest in timely certifying independent candidates for inclusion on the general election ballot. The court concluded, however, that the district court erred in determining that there was no genuine dispute of material fact whether the March 1 deadline is narrowly drawn to serve that compelling interest. In this case, there exists a genuine factual dispute whether the verification of independent candidate petitions would conflict with the processing of other signature petitions under the former May 1 deadline. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Moore v. Martin" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against the Minnesota Secretary of State and others, challenging a statute prohibiting the wearing of political insignia at a polling place, Minnesota Statute 211B.11. This court reversed the dismissal of plaintiffs' as-applied First Amendment claim in Minnesota Majority v. Mansky, 708 F.3d 1051, 1059 (8th Cir. 2013). The district court, on remand, granted summary judgment for defendants. The court concluded that the statute and Policy are viewpoint neutral and facially reasonable. The court noted that the statute and Policy prohibit more than election-related apparel. The court explained that, even if Tea Party apparel was not election-related, it was not unreasonable to prohibit it in a polling place. In order to ensure a neutral, influence-free polling place, all political material was banned. In this case, EIW offered nothing to rebut evidence that the Tea Party has recognizable political views. The court concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment because no reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the statute and Policy as applied to EIW violated its First Amendment rights. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky" on Justia Law

by
After MFA formed a campaign committee less than 30 days before the November 4, 2014, election and violated Missouri law section 130.011(8), MFA filed suit against the executive director of the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC), in his official capacity, seeking to declare unconstitutional the 30-day formation deadline. The district court granted a temporary restraining order, but after the election, dismissed MFA’s suit as not ripe. The court concluded that MFA has Article III standing to challenge section 130.011(8) on First Amendment grounds where MFA’s self-censorship is objectively reasonable; although the 2014 election has passed, this case is not moot where MEC can at any time implement its policy and assess the fee for violation of the formation deadline in section 130.011(8) and, in the alternative, this action is not moot under the “capable of repetition yet evading review” exception to mootness; and MFA’s case is ripe for review where MFA asserts the harm of self-censorship, based on its compliance with section 130.011(8). Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Missourians for Fiscal Accountability v. Klahr" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against two public officials in their official capacities, alleging that the procedures they enforce for placing initiatives on Nebraska state and municipal ballots violate his rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and seeking declaratory and prospective injunctive relief. The district court dismissed all but the Fourteenth Amendment claim against Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale, entered judgment for plaintiff on that claim, enjoined Gale from enforcing certain provisions of the Nebraska Constitution, and awarded plaintiff attorneys' fees and costs. The Supreme Court made clear in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife that a wish to engage in future conduct, alone, does not provide the immediacy needed for threatened enforcement of a contested law to constitute injury in fact. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to establish standing to bring his Fourteenth Amendment claim where his interest in placing an initiative on the ballot, even if evidenced by a sworn statement and sample petition filed with Gale, is insufficient to establish an imminent threat of enforcement. Furthermore, plaintiff failed to prove he has standing to assert his interest as a petition signer where there is no evidence that plaintiff is registered to vote. Accordingly, the court vacated that portion of the district court's judgment and remanded with instructions. View "Bernbeck v. Gale" on Justia Law