“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”
A third complaint has been filed on behalf of delegates for Ron Paul to the Republican National Convention. This comes after a federal judge dismissed the earlier complaint without prejudice, claiming that the case lacked plausibility.
In his motion to dismiss, U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, claimed that the case was “unintelligible and vague”. However, he did allow for “a third and final opportunity” to amend the complaint. You can read that decision here:
Richard Gilbert, of Gilbert and Marlowe, filed the amended complaint on Wednesday. You can read the (second) amended complaint here:
In this amended complaint, Gilbert asks the court again for a declaratory judgement and injunctive relief on behalf of delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, set to start on August 27th. From the complaint
“This Second Amended Complaint presents a Federal Question for the Court’s consideration.
The Federal Question presented is whether the Voting Rights Act (hereafter “VRA”) applies to the National Convention of the Defendants to be held in Tampa commencing August 27, 2012.
There is no other issue presented.”
The Defendants in this case are the Republican National Committee and every State Republican party and party Chairman within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit.
Gilbert and his team have dropped the fraud charges that were set forth in the earlier complaints, instead deciding to focus on the question of whether delegates are free to vote their conscience “on any and all ballots” at the convention in Tampa. The complaint, once again, focuses on The Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 1971, which protected minorities from discrimination or intimidation while exercising the right to vote.
The complaint alleges that the Republican National Committee are disregarding the laws of the United States by applying their own party rules to the National Convention. The correspondence from 2008 between then Republican National Committeewoman of Utah, Nancy Lord, and Jennifer Sheehan, assistant counsel to the RNC, is once again included in the exhibits.
(That correspondence dealt with a situation in Utah as to whether a delegate would have to vote for McCain, because Utah wanted to bind their delegates to him after Mitt Romney dropped out of the race.)
The Plaintiffs (delegates) support the idea that The Voting Rights Act applies to ALL citizens of The United States, not just minorities, citing the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Constitution. The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 and prohibits discrimination based on race. The Act also requires certain jurisdictions to provide bilingual assistance to minority voters.
Section 2 of the Act, which bars the use of voting practices or procedures that discriminate against minority voters, has been used to attack discrimination in voting, including restrictive voter registration requirements, re-districting plans that weaken minority voter turnout , discriminatory annexations, and the location of polling places at sites inaccessible to minority voters.
The Act also provides the Department of Justice with the authority to appoint federal examiners to monitor elections to make sure that they are conducted fairly. Initial enforcement efforts targeted, among other things, literacy tests, poll taxes, and discriminatory registration practices.
You can read more about the Voting Rights Act here:
The lawsuit uses section 1971(b) as one of the key points. Section 1971(b) states:
“No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President.”
Does this section apply in this situation? Carter argued in his Motion to Dismiss that Gilbert’s team “make literally no argument and cite no case-law to explain what government interest in their interpretation of Section 1971(b) serves.” He further explained that Paul supporters, “misinterpreted the phrase “‘intimidate, threaten, or coerce'” in a section of the Voting Rights Act “to include a political party’s conditioning of delegate status on a promise to vote for a particular nominee.”
On the other hand, Carter did say in his Motion to Dismiss that it was possible for the Plaintiffs to provide for more of a governmental interest if they were able to provide a clearer briefing..leaving the amended complaint open to do just that.
The motion uses the Lopez Torres case as an example of how “the State can require” and courts have previously “permitted States to [undermine] ‘party bosses’ by requiring party-candidate selection through processes more favorable to insurgents.”
He added that the Republican Party has certain rights under the 1st Amendment, but that, “Outside the context of the Voting Rights Act, the Supreme Court has held that, where the burden on the party’s First Amendment right is trivial, a rational relationship between a legitimate governmental interest and the law’s effect will render the law constitutional.”
In the past, groups have proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would allow for a Constitutional Right to Vote. U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr, (D-Ill.) proposed this resolution in March 2005. You can read about House Joint Resolution 28 here:
Gilbert has said that he has also filed a Motion to Expedite, as he wants the case to be heard before the convention. His prior Motion to Expedite was denied.
With this third complaint, the delegates would like to solidify their position in being able to vote for whom they want to vote for at the GOP National Convention. With the start of the convention just a couple of weeks away, the race to get a decision is on. Will this, indeed, prove to be the lucky third?
(Ron Paul and his campaign are not associated with this lawsuit.)
“The child is frustrated, but not instructed; and it is in the situation where, later on in life, we say to ourselves, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try, try again!’
E.B. Holt, Freudian Wish, 1915