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Case Name Joyner v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity PR-FL-0001
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-22568 ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On July 10, 2017, five residents of Florida, the ACLU of Florida, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc. filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case was assigned to Judge Marcia G. Cooke and Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. The plaintiffs sued ... read more >
On July 10, 2017, five residents of Florida, the ACLU of Florida, and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc. filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case was assigned to Judge Marcia G. Cooke and Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. The plaintiffs sued the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (Commission), the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the Executive Office of the Vice President of the United States, and several agents of the executive branch, all under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), and the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The plaintiffs also sued the Florida Secretary of State under state law, namely Florida Statute § 97.0585: Information Regarding Voters and Voter Registration Confidentiality. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and other public interest counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

This complaint, brought on behalf of Florida voters, challenged the legality of the actions of the Commission and the legality of its directive requesting voter registration information of state-registered voters in Florida and throughout the United States. The plaintiffs sought to prevent the unauthorized collection of state voter information data and to prohibit the Florida Secretary of State and other similarly situated officials of other states from providing state voter data to the Commission. The plaintiffs claimed that the actions of the Commission and other defendants constituted an unjustified invasion of privacy in violation of the constitutional separation of powers, Article II, and voters’ First Amendment rights.

On July 13, 2017, the plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order, asking the court to prohibit the defendants from collecting every American voter’s personal data to create a national, centralized database, to prohibit the defendants from running all business until fully complying with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, and to restrain the Florida Secretary of State from submitting to the Commission any voter data in violation of Fla. Stat. § 97.0585 and Florida’s Right to Privacy. The court held a hearing on July 18, 2017, regarding this motion. Unfortunately, the details of this hearing are not available on the docket. On July 20, 2017, deferring to the conclusions made during the hearing, Judge Marcia Cooke denied without prejudice the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order. 2017 WL 3113486.

On August 14, 2017, the defendant Florida Secretary moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, because the plaintiffs failed to state a cause of action. The following month, the Secretary filed a motion to stay the filing of the joint scheduling report until the court resolved this motion to dismiss. The court denied this motion to stay, finding that if there were a stay and the court ultimately denied the motion, this case would have been significantly behind schedule.

On October 20, 2017, the federal defendants moved to dismiss this action, arguing that the case lacked subject matter jurisdiction because the plaintiffs failed to establish standing. In December 2017, the federal defendants moved for a protective order staying discovery until the court ruled on the federal defendants’ pending motion to dismiss.

On December 29, 2017, however, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, removing a claim that the federal defendants had exceeded the authority of Executive Order 13799. As such, the court denied as moot both the motions to dismiss as they were regarding the initial complaint.

On January 5, 2018, the plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs filed this motion because on January 3, 2018, President Trump issued an Executive Order terminating the Commission after the defendants and other had successfully worked together to transfer private, protected voter data to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The plaintiffs claimed that, in using Commission data, the Federal Defendants sought to “Stop Aliens From Voting,” without complying with FACA and argued that injunctive relief was appropriate to compel government compliance with FACA. The court referred this motion to Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. 2018 WL 333821.

On February 6, 2018, Judge Goodman issued a report and recommendation regarding the plaintiffs’ emergency motion. Judge Goodman recommended that the plaintiffs’ motion be denied because Plaintiffs had not established a substantial threat of irreparable injury. 2018 WL 1863751. Agreeing with the report, Judge Cooke denied the motion on March 19, 2018.

In light of the dissolution of the Commission, the defendant Secretary and the federal defendants filed new motions to dismiss, arguing that without the Commission, the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

On May 30, 2018, Judge Cooke entered an order granting both motions to dismiss and dismissed the case. The court granted the defendant Secretary’s motion because Florida had already provided the Commission with the publicly available information, and the Commission had been disbanded. As such, there was no continuing case or controversy with respect to the Secretary. The court granted the federal defendants’ motion for similar reasons. The Commission ceased to exist and, while Judge Cooke agreed with the plaintiffs that simply because a commission ceased to exist does not necessarily render a case moot, the court found that the instant case had indeed become moot as to the remaining federal defendants. The case is presumably closed.

Jake Parker - 06/14/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) The State of Florida
United States
Plaintiff Description Five residents of Florida, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, and Florida Immigrant Coalition, Inc.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2017
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:17-cv-22568 (S.D. Fla.)
PR-FL-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief, with Request for Expedited Treatment [ECF# 1]
PR-FL-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 31] (2017 WL 3113486) (S.D. Fla.)
PR-FL-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/20/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 65]
PR-FL-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/29/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendations on Plaintiffs' Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 97] (2018 WL 1863751)
PR-FL-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/06/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting Report and Recommendation [ECF# 105] (S.D. Fla.)
PR-FL-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Omnibus Order Granting Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 108] (S.D. Fla.)
PR-FL-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/30/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cooke, Marcia G. (E.D. Mich., S.D. Fla.)
PR-FL-0001-0003 | PR-FL-0001-0005 | PR-FL-0001-0006 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Goodman, Jonathan (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
PR-FL-0001-0004 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abudu, Nancy G (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Blank, Jason B. (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Burton, Marc A. (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Davis, Michael T. (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Davis, Larry Scott (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Funes, Freddy (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Geller, Joseph Scott (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Greenberg, Gerald Edward (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Korda, Shana Jill (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Kuehne, Benedict Paul (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Pita, Howard Kraft (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Poterek, Daniel J. (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Reiling, Jarred Lee (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Schachter, Adam Michael (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-0001 | PR-FL-0001-0002 | PR-FL-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Borson, Joseph Evan (District of Columbia)
PR-FL-0001-9000
Federighi, Carol (District of Columbia)
PR-FL-0001-9000
Fugett, David Andrew (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-9000
Jones, William Jordan (Florida)
PR-FL-0001-9000
Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)
PR-FL-0001-9000
Wolfe, Kristina Ann (District of Columbia)
PR-FL-0001-9000

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