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Case Name Republican National Committee v. Newsom VR-CA-0168
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-01055 ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Healthy Elections COVID litigation tracker
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is an action seeking to enjoin California from enforcing EO N-64-20, which allowed Californians to vote by mail in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 18, 2020, the California legislature passed a law that superseded the executive order. The plaintiffs later voluntarily ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is an action seeking to enjoin California from enforcing EO N-64-20, which allowed Californians to vote by mail in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. On June 18, 2020, the California legislature passed a law that superseded the executive order. The plaintiffs later voluntarily dismissed the case.


On May 24, 2020, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs sued the governor and secretary of state of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Electors and Elections Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs challenged the governor's EO N-64-20 ("Executive Order"), which allowed Californians to vote by mail to preserve the public health, arguing that changing the "time, place, and manner in which Californians" vote was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs requested a declaratory judgment that the Executive Order violated the U.S. Constitution and an injunction prohibiting the defendants from implementing and enforcing the order.

The case was initially assigned to Judge Kimberly J. Mueller, but was reassigned to Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. because it was related to another case filed a few days earlier by California voters, VR-CA-0169 in the Clearinghouse.

On June 5, 2020, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs argued that the U.S. Constitution assigns state legislatures, rather than the governor, the power to administer federal elections and that the governor's Executive Order was therefore unconstitutional. The plaintiffs further argued that even if the California state legislature had the power to delegate the administration of elections to the governor, it had not done so. Based on this analysis, the plaintiffs concluded that they were likely to succeed on the merits of the case. In addition, they asserted that the Executive Order would likely do irreparable damage to the November 2020 election by confusing voters, undermining confidence in the electoral process, and creating an incentive to remain away from the polls. They stated that the Executive Order would also irreparably harm the plaintiffs' voting members by diluting the votes of honest voters. Lastly, the plaintiffs argued that a preliminary injunction aligned with the public's interest by preventing a violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights and protecting the integrity of elections.

On June 18, 2020, the California state legislature enacted AB 860, which superseded the Executive Order. On July 9, 2020, the plaintiffs' voluntarily dismissed the action.

The case is now closed.

Caitlin Kierum - 06/03/2020
Nicholas Gillan - 10/17/2021


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Voter qualifications
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Governor of California
Secretary of State of California
Plaintiff Description National and California Republican organizations
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 05/24/2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  RNC v. Newsom
Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project
Date: September 1, 2020
By: Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project (Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
E.D. Cal.
10/05/2021
2:20-cv-1055
VR-CA-0168-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Cal.
05/24/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-CA-0168-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
06/05/2020
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 24-1]
VR-CA-0168-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
06/19/2020
Notice of New Authority [ECF# 66]
VR-CA-0168-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
07/09/2020
Plaintiffs' Notice of Voluntary Dismissal and Proposed Order [ECF# 78]
VR-CA-0168-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
07/09/2020
Order [ECF# 79] (2020 WL 5239882)
VR-CA-0168-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Delaney, Carolyn K. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
England, Morrison C. Jr. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0002 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baltes, Alexa R. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001 | VR-CA-0168-0003 | VR-CA-0168-0005 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Dhillon, Harmeet K. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001 | VR-CA-0168-0003 | VR-CA-0168-0005 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Green, Tyler R. (Utah) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001 | VR-CA-0168-0003 | VR-CA-0168-0005 | VR-CA-0168-9000
McCarthy, Thomas R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001
Meuser, Mark Philip (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001 | VR-CA-0168-0003 | VR-CA-0168-0005 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Weir, Bryan K. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001 | VR-CA-0168-0003 | VR-CA-0168-0005 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Becerra, Xavier (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0004
Brewster, Henry J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Chaudhuri, Pooja (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Diaz, Sonja Francine Marie (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Dunn, Chad W (Texas) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Eidmann, Kathryn A. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Elgart, Courtney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Elias, Marc Erik (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Friley, Jesselyn (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Glickman, Benjamin Matthew (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0004
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Halbig, Benjamin T. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Hawley, Jonathan P (Washington) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Khanna, Abha (Washington) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Killeen, John W show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0004 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Libby, John F. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Norris, Cameron T. (Virginia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0001 | VR-CA-0168-0003 | VR-CA-0168-0005 | VR-CA-0168-9000 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Rosenbaum, Mark Dale (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Russell, Jay C. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-0004 | VR-CA-0168-9000
Other Lawyers Cooper, Monte M.F. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000
Eastman, John C. (California) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0168-9000

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