University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
view search results
page permalink
Case Name Mi Familia Vota Education Fund v. Detzner VR-FL-0168
Docket / Court 8:12-cv-1294 ( M.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Case Summary
On June 8, 2012, two naturalized U.S. citizens and a national non-profit dedicated to increasing civic participation among Latinos filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1973c and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 against the State of Florida in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa ... read more >
On June 8, 2012, two naturalized U.S. citizens and a national non-profit dedicated to increasing civic participation among Latinos filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1973c and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 against the State of Florida in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, the ACLU of Florida, the ACLU, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that Florida's voter purge procedures violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ("VRA").

Specifically, the state had implemented "voter registration list maintenance activities" such as forwarding list of "potential non-citizens" to Supervisors of Elections and requiring these Supervisors to remove the names from registration. The plaintiffs claimed that these procedures required Section 5 pre-clearance from the federal government before they could be legally implemented. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, 42 U.S.C. §1973c, is a temporary provision that prohibits changes in election practices or procedures in states and political subdivisions with a documented history of discriminatory voting practices until the new procedures have been determined not to have the purpose or effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.

On July 13, 2012, the defendant—Florida’s Secretary of State—filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint. The defendant claimed that the plaintiffs did not have a claim upon which relief could be granted for several reasons: Florida was not a jurisdiction that Section 5 covered, Florida changed it’s voting procedures that would be subject to Section 5 before the plaintiffs filed their suit, the plaintiffs failed to acknowledge any of Florida’s voting procedure changes subject to Section 5 pre-clearance, and the statewide injunction sought by the plaintiffs was inappropriate because the alleged violation existed in only five of Florida’s 67 counties.

The plaintiff’s filed an amended complaint on July 27, 2012 to update and expand the list of facts underlying their claims. On August 20, 2012, the defendant re-filed the motion to dismiss in accordance with the plaintiffs' amended complaint.

On July 30, 2012 the Eleventh Circuit Chief Judge, Joel F. Dubina assigned Circuit Judge Charles R. Wilson and District Judge James S. Moody to hear the case alongside District Judge James D. Whittemore. In his order, Chief Judge Dubina assigned this combination of judges to allow for a simultaneous appeal to the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, if the situation were to arise.

Judge Whittemore denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss the first amended complaint on September 18, 2012.

On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court decided Shelby County v Holder, holding that Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act was unconstitutional. Section 4(b) contained the formula that determined which jurisdictions would be subject to the pre-clearance requirements listed in Section 5. Back in the District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the defendant filed notice that further litigation in this case was unnecessary. Because the Supreme Court in Shelby County found the process for determining which jurisdictions would be covered by the Section 5 pre-clearance requirements to be unconstitutional, the defendant argued Florida was no longer covered by the Section 5 pre-clearance requirements and therefore the plaintiffs no longer had a claim upon which relief could be granted.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County, both parties agreed that the plaintiffs' complaint should be dismissed, but they disagreed over whether or not it should be dismissed with prejudice. On July 10, 2015, the defendant filed a notice that the claim should be denied with prejudice because the invalidation of Section 4 invalidated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act as well, meaning there was no way that the plaintiffs would be able to reopen their case. The plaintiffs however, filed a notice on July 11, 2013 to have the case dismissed with prejudice only to the extent Section 5 of the VRA was predicated on Section 4. This would allow the plaintiffs to reopen their case should Congress pass a new bill or should a future court find Section 5 was not predicated on Section 4. The plaintiffs filed this official motion request on July 15, 2013.

The District Court ultimately agreed with the defendant that the plaintiffs’ proposed order “would essentially constitute an impermissible advisory opinion” and dismissed the case with prejudice on July 24, 2013.

This case is now closed.

Timothy Shoffner - 06/11/2012
Mackenzie Walz - 01/19/2018


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
Voting access
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Voter registration rules
Causes of Action Voting Rights Act, section 5, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c
Defendant(s) Florida Department of State
Plaintiff Description two naturalized U.S. citizens and Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, a national non-profit dedicated to increasing civic participation among Latinos
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing VR-DC-1166 : Florida Department of State v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
VR-FL-0169 : United States v. State of Florida (N.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0170 : Arcia v. Detzner (S.D. Fla.)
Docket(s)
8:12−cv−01294 (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/24/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
National Voter Registration Act Compliance
VR-FL-0168-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/01/2012
Source: ACLU
Complaint
VR-FL-0168-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2012
Defendant Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 16]
VR-FL-0168-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Designation of Three-Judge Court [ECF# 24] (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Request for Three Judge Panel [ECF# 20]
VR-FL-0168-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/27/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States [ECF# 22]
VR-FL-0168-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/27/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
The Secretary's Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint [ECF# 25] (2015 WL 13040164)
VR-FL-0168-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/20/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 32] (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/17/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 32] (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/17/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Decision in Shelby County Striking Down Section 4(b) [ECF# 48]
VR-FL-0168-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/25/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Proposed Order of Dismissal With Prejudice [ECF# 53]
VR-FL-0168-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Proposed Order of Dismissal with Prejudice Only to Extent the Section 5 is Predicated on the Current Section 4 Coverage Formula [ECF# 54]
VR-FL-0168-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/11/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss Any and All Claims in Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint Predicated On the Coverage Formula in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act Held to Be Unconstitutional in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder [ECF# 56]
VR-FL-0168-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal [ECF# 60] (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/24/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dubina, Joel Fredrick (M.D. Ala., Eleventh Circuit)
VR-FL-0168-0003
Moody, James S. Jr. (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-0004 | VR-FL-0168-0008 | VR-FL-0168-0014
Pizzo, Mark A. (M.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
VR-FL-0168-9000
Whittemore, James D. (M.D. Fla.)
VR-FL-0168-0004 | VR-FL-0168-0008 | VR-FL-0168-0014 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Wilson, Charles R. (M.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit)
VR-FL-0168-0004 | VR-FL-0168-0008 | VR-FL-0168-0014
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ebenstein, Julie A. (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0001 | VR-FL-0168-0002 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Kengle, Robert A. (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0001 | VR-FL-0168-0002 | VR-FL-0168-0006 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Lindenbaum, Dara (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0001 | VR-FL-0168-0002 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Marshall, Randall C (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0001 | VR-FL-0168-0002 | VR-FL-0168-0006 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
McCarthy, Edward Robert (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
McDonald, Moffatt Laughlin (Georgia)
VR-FL-0168-0001 | VR-FL-0168-0002 | VR-FL-0168-0006 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
O'Connor, Katie (Georgia)
VR-FL-0168-0001 | VR-FL-0168-0002 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Soto, Edward (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0006 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-0012 | VR-FL-0168-0013 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atkinson, J Andrew (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Carvin, Michael Anthony (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0005 | VR-FL-0168-0009 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Davis, Ashley E. (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0005 | VR-FL-0168-0009 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Gore, John M. (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0005 | VR-FL-0168-0009 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Nordby, Daniel E. (Florida)
VR-FL-0168-0005 | VR-FL-0168-0009 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Other Lawyers Garrett, Jenigh Juliette (New York)
VR-FL-0168-0007 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Herren, T. Christian Jr. (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0007
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0007
Russ, John Albert IV (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0007 | VR-FL-0168-0010 | VR-FL-0168-0011 | VR-FL-0168-9000
Shore, Elise S. (District of Columbia)
VR-FL-0168-0007

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
view search results
page permalink

- top of page -