Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law Litigation

Lopez Torres v. New York State Board of Elections

Print Page

(page last updated October 22, 2007 at 10:48 AM)

Case Information

All Courts: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Case 1:04-cv-1129-JG-SMG); U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit (Case 06-0635-cv)
Topic(s): Ballot Access, Ballot Access
State: New York
Date Filed: March 18, 2004
Date Ended: August 21, 2006

Case Summary

In this case Plaintiffs, voters and would-be candidates for the office of New York Supreme Court Justice, have brought suit against the New York State Board of Elections seeking a declaration that the New York's judicial convention is unconstitutional, and a preliminary injunction prohibiting the use of the same until such time as the New York state legislature creates a new system.

Plaintiffs allege that the current judicial convention system violates the First and Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution as voters are deprived of their right to choose their parties' candidate for the New York Supreme Court, and substantially burdens candidates from challenging candidates from the two primary parties, the Republicans and Democrats.

In granting a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiffs, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York found that the nominating conventions are not the places where decisions involving candidates are made; instead they are merely stamps of approval to decisions made elsewhere, primarily by district and county leaders. Voters play virtually no role in either the selection of delegates to the convention or the primary party candidates for the New York Supreme Court. Additionally, candidates who wish to challenge these primary party candidates are required to recruit a substantial number of persons to sign petitions; even in cases where the required signatures are obtained, no evidence could be found of a candidate who was not backed by party leaders winning the election. Analyzing all of these facts, the Court found that the substantial burden imposed on these challenging candidates is not reasonably related to any of the state's interests asserted by the Defendants.

District Court Documents

Court of Appeals Documents

Related Links