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Court Case

DNC v. RNC Consent Decree

In 1982, after caging in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods, the Republican National Committee and New Jersey Republican State Committee entered into a consent decree with their Democratic party counterparts.

Published: November 5, 2016

In 1982, after caging in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods, the Republican National Committee and New Jersey Republican State Committee entered into a consent decree with their Democratic party counterparts. Under that decree and its 1987 successor, the Republican party organizations agreed to allow a federal court to review proposed “ballot security” programs, including any proposed voter caging.

The consent decree has been invoked several times, by the parties to the decree and by others. In late 2008, the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America sought to enforce the consent decree, claiming that the RNC had not submitted alleged ballot security operations for review. After the election, the RNC asked the federal court to vacate or substantially modify the decree. The court denied the RNC's motion to vacate the consent decree and ordered the decree remain in effect until December 2017. The RNC then appealed to the Third Circuit, which unanimously rejected the appeal and affirmed the District Court's decision.  A subsequent petition for rehearing en banc by the full Third Circuit, and a certiorari petition to U.S. Supreme Court, were denied.

On October 26, 2016, the DNC filed a motion asking that the court find the RNC had violated the decree. On November 5, after abbreviated discovery, the district court denied the DNC’s request, ruling that the DNC had not provided sufficient evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and the RNC on ballot-security operations, but will allow the DNC to offer further evidence after the election.

Click here to learn more about voter caging.

Click here to learn more about ballot security programs.

Related Court Documents

2016
Order Denying Request to Extend Decree (November 5, 2016)
RNC's Memorandum in Opposition to Order to Show Cause (October 31, 2016)
DNC's Memorandum in Support of Order to Show Cause (October 26, 2016)

2012
Petition for Rehearing (March 22, 2012)
Third Circuit Opinion (March 8, 2012)

2009
Debevoise Order (December 1, 2009)
Debevoise Opinion (December 1, 2009)
RNC Post-Hearing Brief (June 26, 2009)
DNC Post-Hearing Brief (June 26, 2009)
RNC Reply Brief (February 19, 2009)
DNC Brief Opposing Motion to Vacate (January 19, 2009)
RNC Brief in Support of Motion (November 3, 2008)

2008 (several states)
DNC Brief (November 3, 2008)
DNC Brief Atty. Certification of Exhibits (November 3, 2008)
OFA Intervention Memo (November 3, 2008)
Minute Entry (November 3, 2008)

2004 (Ohio)
Malone Dismissal (February 3, 2005)
Malone en banc Decision (November 9, 2004)
Malone Appellate Decision (November 1, 2004)
Malone Order (November 1, 2004)
Malone Intervenor PI brief (November 1, 2004)
Malone Intervenor Complaint (October 31, 2004) 
Malone Memo in Support of Intervention (October 28, 2004)
Malone Motion to Intervene (October 28, 2004)

2004 (South Dakota)
Daschle Temporary Restraining Order (November 2, 2004)
Daschle SD Complaint (November 1, 2004)

2002 (New Jersey)
Order (October 31, 2002)

1990 (North Carolina)
Order (November 5, 1990)

1987 (several states)
Consent Decree (July 27, 1987)

Original 1981 case (New Jersey)
Consent Decree (November 1, 1982)
Complaint (February 11, 1982)