Justia Election Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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The First Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court rejecting Appellants' facial challenge to the Rhode Island comprehensive statutory scheme designed to increase transparency in regard to election-related spending, holding that there was no error.The law at issue required limited disclosure of funding sources responsible for certain independent expenditures and electioneering communications. Appellants challenged the disclosure an disclaimer provisions, arguing that the provisions did not withstand the required degree of scrutiny and infringed on constitutionally protected free-speech, privacy, and associational rights. The trial court dismissed the complaint. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the challenged aspects of Rhode Island's disclosure and disclaimer regime were constitutional. View "Gaspee Project v. Mederos" on Justia Law

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In this case involving a consent judgment and decree entered on July 30, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, effective for the September and November 2020 elections suspending Rhode Island's requirement that a voter using a mail ballot mark the ballot in the presence of two witnesses or a notary, the First Circuit reversed in part the district court's order denying a motion to intervene filed by the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Rhode Island (jointly, Republicans) and denied the Republicans' motion to stay the judgment and consent decree pending the outcome of the appeal, holding (1) the concerns in Purcell v. Gonzalez, 549 U.S. 1, 5 (20016), that would normally support a stay are largely inapplicable and even militate against a stay; and (2) as to the Republicans' status as intervenors, the district court's order denying intervention is reversed in part. View "Common Cause Rhode Island v. Rhode Island Republican Party" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellants' complaint challenging the constitutionality of the winner-take-all method for selecting presidential electors that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted, holding that Appellants failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.Pursuant to its constitutional authority, Massachusetts enacted a statutory scheme that provides for the appointment of electors for president and Vice President on a winner-take-all (WTA) basis. Appellants sued the Commonwealth challenging the constitutionality of the WTA system as applied in Massachusetts, arguing that the WTA method violates their right to an equally weighted vote under the Equal Protection Clause as well as their associational rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The district court dismissed the complaint for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) Appellants did have standing to bring their claims; but (2) Appellants failed to state a claim for relief under either of their constitutional theories. View "Lyman v. Baker" on Justia Law