Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law Litigation

Hayden v. Pataki; Muntaqim v. Coombe

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(page last updated October 30, 2007 at 2:34 PM)

Case Information

All Courts: United States District Court, Northern District of New York (Case 9:94-cv-1237(NAM)(GJD) (Muntaqim)); United States District Court, Southern District of New York (Case 1:00-cv-08586-LMM-HBP (Hayden)); United States Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit (Case 01-7260)
Topic(s): Felon Voting Rights
State: New York
Date Filed: January 15, 2003
Date Ended: June 1, 2006


This action is a consolidation of two cases, both challenging a New York State law that prohibits people from voting who are incarcerated or on parole for a felony conviction. The parties allege that the statute: (1) denies Blacks and Latinos who are in prison or on parole for a felony conviction the right to vote on account of race and (2) dilutes the voting strength of the Black and Latino communities in New York. The parties seek a declaratory judgment that New York Election Law §5-106 violates the 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, as well as Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

In Muntaqim v. Coombe, the District Court granted summary judgment for the Defendant holding that New York State's felon disenfranchisement scheme is immune from challenges under the Voting Rights Act. A panel of the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision, and the Supreme Court denied a writ of certiorari. The Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the matter en banc.

In Hayden v. Pataki, the District Court, relying on the decision in Muntaqim, dismissed the case. On appeal, this case was consolidated with Muntaqim.

The primary issue that the Court will consider during the en banc proceeding is whether a claim that New York Election Law §5-106 unlawfully denies people the right to vote and/or results in vote dilution can be brought under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Hayden on remand to the US District Court, Southern District of New York

  • Order Setting briefing deadlines (entered 06/28/2006)
    • Plaintiff to advise Court, not later than July 17, 2006, if they have raised a claim on behalf of plaintiffs who are neither incarcerated nor on parole that their votes are diluted because of New York's apportionment process, as elaborated in the Court of Appeals' decisions, and, if the answer is affirmative, to identify the relevant portions of the complaint and suggest what further proceedings should be had in this Court.
    • State defendants are to respond in writing, not later than July 27, 2006.
  • Plaintiffs' Response To Court's 6/28/06 Memorandum And Order (filed 7/13/06)
  • MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: The Court finds that no further proceedings in the District Court are required, and that the case in the District Court need not be reopened (entered 8/7/06)

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