Monthly Archives: March 2004

“Battling over anti-Bush donors; Bush camp launches legal fight against large-dollar Democratic funders” offers this report, which suggests that President Bush and the RNC have filed a complaint in federal court related to the activities of Democratic-leaning 527s. The article says, however, that the complaint was filed with the FEC. I’d appreciate some clarification, and I’ll post it here if I receive it.
UPDATE: Clarification comes via this Washington Post report. The Bush campaign and RNC filed a complaint with the FEC, and they want it immediately dismissed so that they can take their complaint to the courts. From the article:

    In an unusual bid to get fast action on the complaint, Ginsberg said, the GOP plaintiffs want the FEC to immediately dismiss the charges. This would permit Bush and the Republican Party to appeal directly to the courts for quicker action.
    A knowledgeable FEC staff member who did not want to be identified because he is not an official spokesman described the GOP request for immediate dismissal as “ridiculous.”
    The Republican chairman of the FEC, Bradley A. Smith, said, “we will consider the request” for immediate dismissal. But Smith cautioned that, even if the commission dismissed the complaint, “my gut instinct would be, ‘Wouldn’t the court just send it right back and say the statute requires you to investigate?’ ”
    The Bush campaign and the RNC indicated that they are seeking prompt action because the FEC can take months to process a complaint, and the Nov. 2 election could arrive before there is a resolution.
    Ginsberg said immediate court action is needed because the FEC is “ill-equipped to sanction such pervasive criminal conduct in a way that would be timely and meaningful.”

See also this New York Times report, which includes:

    As for the request that the election commission dismiss the case quickly, officials there said they were unlikely to abandon their entire process for managing complaints.
    “My initial thinking is that the court might send it back and say, `Look, this is your job,’ ” said Bradley A. Smith, the commission’s chairman and a Republican.

UPDATE 2: Bob Bauer has posted the complaint here. The Los Angeles Times article is here. The Hill is here.

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First Circuit En Banc Decides Metts v. Murphy case, allowing Section 2 Coalitional District Case to Go Forward

I have posted the en banc opinion here. It was a 5-2 decision. As the dissent notes, the tone of the majority opinion is “measured,” but it does recognize the possibility of a minority group bringing a coalitional district claim under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. From the majority opinion:

    We are thus unwilling at the complaint stage to foreclose the possibility that a section 2 claim can ever be made out where the African-American population of a single member district is reduced in redistricting legislation from 26 to 21 percent. Yes, one would ordinarily expect the consequences to be small, but not always, and arguably not here (based on past history). At this point we know practically nothing about the motive for the change in district or the selection of the present configuration, the contours of the district chosen or the feasible alternatives, the impact of alternative districts on other minorities, or anything
    else that would help gauge how mechanically or flexibly the Gingles factors should be applied.
    On the other hand, the plaintiffs cannot prevail merely by showing that an alternative plan gives them a greater opportunity to win the election, DeGrandy, 512 U.S. at 1017 (“Failure to maximize cannot be the measure of

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