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Case Name ACLU v. Trump PR-DC-0006
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01351 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On July 10, 2017, the Plaintiffs American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc. filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Plaintiffs sought declaratory and mandamus relief against Defendants President Trump, ... read more >
On July 10, 2017, the Plaintiffs American Civil Liberties Union, Inc. and American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc. filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The Plaintiffs sought declaratory and mandamus relief against Defendants President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (the "Commission”) under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (“FACA”), 5 U.S.C. app. 2 §§ 1-16. The Plaintiffs are non-profit, nationwide organizations focused on ensuring the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution and the nation’s civil rights laws, including laws protecting access to the rights to vote.

On May 11, 2017, President Trump issued Executive Order 13,799, establishing the Commission. The stated mission of the Commission was to “study the registration and voting process used in Federal elections” and its ultimate function was to submit a report to the President that identifies various elements that enhance or undermine nation’s confidence in the integrity of the voting system. Exec. Order No. 13,799 § 3. The Plaintiffs argued that the Commission is an advisory committee, and as such is subject to the disclosure, notice, and reporting requirements of the FACA. The Commission, however, has not followed certain procedures required by FACA, such as having a meeting without holding it open to the public, failing to create detailed minutes of their meetings, failing to provide a transcript of telephonic meetings, and failing other non-discretionary openness requirements. At the time that the complaint was filed, the Committee had a meeting slated for the future date of July 19, 2017, which was scheduled to take place in a building closed to the public without advanced screening. Such a meeting would have been in violation of the non-discretionary open meeting requirement of FACA § 10(a)(1).

Along with their complaint, the Plaintiffs filed a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction requesting the court to enforce FACA’s requirement’s (1) that any telephonic meeting be noticed and available to the public, (2) that all minutes, agendas, reports, studies and documentary material made available to or prepared for or by Commission member be made available for public inspection and copying at a single, publicly accessible location, and (3) that the July 19th meeting be moved, with public notice, to a publicly accessible location.

District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied this motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction without prejudice, reasoning that the court lacked jurisdiction to give relief in the form of mandamus because the Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the three requirements for mandamus: (1) a clear and indisputable right to relief, (2) that the government agency or official is violating a clear duty to act, and (3) that no adequate alternative remedy exists. As the Plaintiffs argued that mandamus relief was the only available remedy, the motion was denied for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. 2017 WL 3049418.

On September 8, 2017, District Judge Randolph D. Moss approved an unopposed motion to stay the case in anticipation of receiving and reviewing materials provided by the defendants in a related case, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, No. 17-cv-1354-CKK (PR-DC-0007). This case is still stayed, and a scheduling order has not yet been set.

Robert Carnes - 10/26/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) President Donald Trump
Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
Vice President Michael Pence
Plaintiff Description The Plaintiffs are non-profit, nationwide organizations focused on ensuring the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the Constitution and the nation’s civil rights laws, including laws protecting access to the rights to vote.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PR-DC-0007 : Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity et al (D.D.C.)
Docket(s)
1:17-cv-1351 (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Mandamus Relief [ECF# 1]
PR-DC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 18] (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (FISC, D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0006-0002 | PR-DC-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ho, Dale E. (New York)
PR-DC-0006-0001 | PR-DC-0006-9000
Lakin, Sophia L. (New York)
PR-DC-0006-0001 | PR-DC-0006-9000
Lee, Theresa J. (New York)
PR-DC-0006-0001 | PR-DC-0006-9000
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0006-0001 | PR-DC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Borson, Joseph Evan (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0006-9000
Federighi, Carol (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0006-9000
Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0006-9000
Wolfe, Kristina Ann (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0006-9000

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