Lawsuit filed on behalf of Harris County Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria and a volunteer deputy registrar , Cathy Morgan, challenging Texas’ voter suppression law, Senate Bill 1. The complaint focuses on the anti-solicitation provision of S.B. 1 that makes it a crime for election officials to encourage eligible individuals to request a vote by mail application, arguing that it violates the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution by chilling and criminalizing free speech. The lawsuit asks the court to block the enforcement of this provision. After a hearing was held on Friday, Feb. 11, the judge granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the anti-solicitation provision. The defendant, the Texas attorney general, appealed the preliminary injunction order to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 5th Circuit stayed (meaning paused) the district court’s preliminary injunction. After oral argument was held, the 5th Circuit certified three questions to the Texas Supreme Court regarding standing and sovereign immunity, concluding that the appellate court “lack[s] clear guidance from Texas courts on these issues and the outcome may be dispositive of the entire appeal.” An oral argument before the Texas Supreme Court was held on May 11.
Ultimately, due to the parties’ agreement on two of the three questions that were certified to the Texas Supreme Court, the Court held that a volunteer deputy registrar is not a public official and therefore the anti-solicitation provision of the challenged law does not apply to Morgan. Additionally, the state Supreme Court held that the Texas attorney general lacks authority to civilly enforce the law in question. The 5th Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction as it applied to two defendants, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick, and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims against them. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs dismissed their claims against the remaining defendants in the case, thereby concluding the case.
Case Documents (district court)
Case Documents (5th circuit)
Case Documents (TX Supreme court)