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Case Name Issa v. Newsom VR-CA-0169
Docket / Court 2:20-cv-01044 ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
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 On July 18, 2020, the California state legislature enacted AB 860, which superseded the disputed executive order. The plaintiffs ... 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 On July 18, 2020, the California state legislature enacted AB 860, which superseded the disputed executive order. The plaintiffs later voluntarily dismissed the case.


On May 21, 2020, five registered California voters filed this action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Represented by attorneys from Judicial Watch, the plaintiffs sued the governor and secretary of state of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, the Elections and Electors Clauses, and state law. 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 the changing the "time, place, and manner in which Californians" vote was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs sought declaratory relief that the Executive Order was unconstitutional and injunctive relief prohibiting the governor and secretary of state from implementing and enforcing the order. The case was assigned to Judge Morrison C. England, Jr.

On June 11, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction. They argued that the governor had no power to sign an executive order regulating federal elections because the Constitution specifically confers this power on state legislatures and, ultimately, on the U.S. Congress. The plaintiffs further argued that no state law gave the governor the authority to regulate federal elections. The plaintiffs asserted that these two arguments made them likely to succeed on the merits of their case. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that the Executive Order would cause irreparable harm by violating the U.S. Constitution and confusing voters. They also concluded that it is always in the public interest for a court to grant preliminary relief that prevents the violation of constitutional rights. Without preliminary relief, the plaintiffs argued, the case would likely be resolved after the November 2020 election, at which time no adequate remedy may be available.

On June 18, 2020, the California state legislature enacted AB 860, which superseded the Executive Order.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

The case is now closed.

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


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Voting access
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Voting
Election administration
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Governor of California
Secretary of State of California
Plaintiff Description Five registered California voters
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 05/21/2020
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)
Court Docket(s)
E.D. Cal.
10/05/2021
2:20-cv-1044
VR-CA-0169-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. Cal.
05/21/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
VR-CA-0169-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
06/11/2020
Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 38-1]
VR-CA-0169-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
07/09/2020
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal and Proposed Order [ECF# 64]
VR-CA-0169-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
E.D. Cal.
07/09/2020
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal and Order [ECF# 65]
VR-CA-0169-0004.pdf | 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-0169-9000
England, Morrison C. Jr. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0169-0004 | VR-CA-0169-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lee, Eric W. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0169-0001 | VR-CA-0169-0002 | VR-CA-0169-0003 | VR-CA-0169-0004 | VR-CA-0169-9000
Nobile, Thornton Russell (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0169-0001 | VR-CA-0169-0002 | VR-CA-0169-0003 | VR-CA-0169-0004 | VR-CA-0169-9000
Popper, Robert D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0169-0001 | VR-CA-0169-0002 | VR-CA-0169-0003 | VR-CA-0169-0004 | VR-CA-0169-9000
Sticht, Robert Patrick (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
VR-CA-0169-0001 | VR-CA-0169-0002 | VR-CA-0169-0003 | VR-CA-0169-0004 | VR-CA-0169-9000

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