University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Linda Smith v. Reese McKinney, Jr. IM-AL-0009
Docket / Court 2:11-cv-00899-WKW-CSC ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On October 19, 2011, several couples who reside in the state of Alabama filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Alabama against Probate Judge Reese McKinney, Jr., under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Poverty ... read more >
On October 19, 2011, several couples who reside in the state of Alabama filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Alabama against Probate Judge Reese McKinney, Jr., under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and private counsel, sought a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees, alleging that the defendant's policies discriminated against non-U.S. citizens trying to obtain a marriage license in Alabama.

In Alabama, no person may marry without a marriage license. One of a probate judge's ministerial jobs is to issue marriage licenses to those couples that meet the requirements. Alabama law does not explicitly say that proof of citizenship is a requirement to obtaining a marriage license. In fact, in 2008, the Alabama Attorney General, issued a statement saying citizenship was not a requirement to obtaining a marriage license. However, the Montgomery County Probate Office had on its website a requirement of showing "legal presence" in the U.S. for persons 18 years or older trying to obtain a marriage license.

On October 21, 2011, the plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint. On December 2, 2011, the clerk for the Middle District Court of Alabama accepted the plaintiffs' voluntary dismissal of the case.

Perry Miska - 03/23/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
General
Disparate Treatment
Marriage
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Status/Classification
Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Alabama
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are couples who wish to obtain a marriage license in Alabama but are barred from doing so because one or both persons are not U.S. citizens.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:11−cv−00899 (M.D. Ala.) 12/02/2011
IM-AL-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint 10/19/2011
IM-AL-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 10/21/2011
IM-AL-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Coody, Charles S. (M.D. Ala.) [Magistrate]
IM-AL-0009-9000
Watkins, William Keith (M.D. Ala.)
IM-AL-0009-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bauer, Mary C. (Virginia)
IM-AL-0009-0001 | IM-AL-0009-0002 | IM-AL-0009-9000
Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)
IM-AL-0009-0001 | IM-AL-0009-0002 | IM-AL-0009-9000
Knoepp, James Melvin (Georgia)
IM-AL-0009-0001 | IM-AL-0009-0002 | IM-AL-0009-9000
Rubio, Sigfredo (Alabama)
IM-AL-0009-0001 | IM-AL-0009-0002 | IM-AL-0009-9000
Werner, Daniel (Georgia)
IM-AL-0009-0001 | IM-AL-0009-0002 | IM-AL-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bolling, Frederic A (Alabama)
IM-AL-0009-9000
Gillis, Henry Lewis (Alabama)
IM-AL-0009-9000
Means, Tyrone Carlton (Alabama)
IM-AL-0009-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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