The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a motion to intervene in defense of Nevada’s recall procedures against a lawsuit from Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias.
The PILF seeks to intervene in the ongoing case against Nevada’s recall procedures due to the misuse of evidence and Nevada’s history in the law suit, as well as the larger constitutional concerns about the tenuous application of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark civil rights law. The Motion to Intervene, filed today, notes:
The lawsuit threatens state control over structuring their own election system using a flawed application of the Voting Rights Act. Plaintiffs seek to impose unconstitutional restrictions on the democratic voice of Nevada citizens by extinguishing a means to hold government accountable. This would be the ultimate denial and infringement on the right and freedom of citizens to participate in the electoral process.
“Nevada has the power under our Constitution to decide to have recall elections,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Hillary Clinton’s lawyer has been bringing cases across the country to destroy this constitutional arrangement by misusing civil rights laws, and the Public Interest Legal Foundation has opposed him elsewhere, and will oppose him in Nevada. The Voting Rights Act is not a law designed to help Democratic Party interests. It’s intended to protect civil rights–not preserve partisan power.”
Though PILF seeks to act as a Defendant-Intervenor in the case, the Foundation will make various arguments that it believes would not otherwise be made by the State of Nevada. An affirmative defense challenging the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act as applied is one of those arguments. Four primary defenses were introduced today.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional if applied to invalidate a recall election
If the Voting Rights Act were used to prohibit recall elections in Nevada and elsewhere, it would be an unconstitutional use of the Voting Rights Act. Plaintiffs’ claims that recall elections deny or abridge the right to vote for those within a “language minority” are far beyond what the Constitution would allow in this circumstance. “Speaking a language other than English is not the same, or even congruent to, inherent immutable characteristics such as race.”
Using disparate impact standards to block a recall would render a portion of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional
Plaintiffs seek to use improper disparate impact statistical standards to invalidate state laws. Using mere statistical disparities to invalidate state laws would upset the Constitutional balance and constitute an unconstitutional application of the Voting Rights Act.
Plaintiffs offer inadequate facts ‘bearing no relevance’ to Voting Rights Act concerns
The brief states: “Most of the purported facts in the Amended Complaint are a jumble of talking points of various interest groups and academics long opposed to robust state control over elections and laws designed to promote election integrity. Taken together, they fail to state a plausible claim that the Defendants have violated Section 2.”
‘Language Minority’ Provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act are unconstitutional
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition on discriminatory procedures or practices impacting “language minority” groups is unconstitutional on its face, given that it is inconsistent with the Fifteenth Amendment and “exceed[s] Congress’ authority to enforce the right to vote regardless of race.”
The Motion to Intervene as Defendant and Proposed Answer by Defendant-Intervenor PILF filings can be found, here.
Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams and Joseph A. Vanderhulst. David O’Mara from the O’Mara Law Firm, PC serves as local counsel.