Torres v. New York State Bd. of Elections, Docket No. 06-0635-CV.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtStraub
Citation462 F.3d 161
PartiesMargarita López TORRES, Steven Banks, C. Alfred Santillo, John J. Macron, Lili Ann Motta, John W. Carroll, Philip C. Segal, Susan Loeb, David J. Lansner, Common Cause/NY, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, Neil W. Kelleher, Carol Berman, Helen Moses Donohue, and Evelyn J. Aquila, in their official capacities as Commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections, Defendants-Appellants, New York County Democratic Committee, New York Republican State Committee, Associations of New York State Supreme Court Justices in the City and State of New York, and Justice David Demarest, individually, and as President of the State Association, Defendants-Intervenors-Appellants, Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General of the State of New York, Statutory-Intervenor-Appellant.
Docket NumberDocket No. 06-0635-CV.
Decision Date30 August 2006
462 F.3d 161
Margarita López TORRES, Steven Banks, C. Alfred Santillo, John J. Macron, Lili Ann Motta, John W. Carroll, Philip C. Segal, Susan Loeb, David J. Lansner, Common Cause/NY, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, Neil W. Kelleher, Carol Berman, Helen Moses Donohue, and Evelyn J. Aquila, in their official capacities as Commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections, Defendants-Appellants,

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New York County Democratic Committee, New York Republican State Committee, Associations of New York State Supreme Court Justices in the City and State of New York, and Justice David Demarest, individually, and as President of the State Association, Defendants-Intervenors-Appellants,
Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General of the State of New York, Statutory-Intervenor-Appellant.
Docket No. 06-0635-CV.
United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.
Argued June 7, 2006.
Decided August 30, 2006.

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Frederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr., Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law (Deborah Goldberg, James Sample, Adam H. Morse, on the brief), New York, NY, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.

Kent A. Yalowitz, Arnold & Porter LLP (Angela D. Givens, Glynn Spelliscy, Elizabeth A. Wells, J. Alex Brophy, Amalia Jorns, on the brief), New York, NY, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.

Jeremy M. Creelan, Jenner & Block LLP (Brian Hauck, Elizabeth Valentina, Carletta F. Higginson, on the brief), New York, NY, for Plaintiffs-Appellees.

Andrew J. Rossman, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Steven M. Pesner, James P. Chou, James E. d'Auguste, Vincenzo A. DeLeo, Jamison A. Diehl, on the brief), New York, NY, for Defendant-Intervenor-Appellant New York County Democratic Committee.

Arthur W. Greig, New York, NY, for Defendant-Intervenor-Appellant New York County Democratic Committee.

Todd D. Valentine, Special Counsel to State Board of Elections, Albany, NY, for Defendants-Appellants New York State Board of Elections, Neil W. Kelleher, Carol Berman, Helena Moses Donohue, and Evelyn J. Aquila.

Carter G. Phillips, Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, D.C., for Defendant-Intervenor-Appellant New York Republican State Committee.

Joseph L. Forstadt, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan (Ernst H. Rosenberger, Kevin J. Curnin, David Sifre, Mary A. Gorman, on the brief), New York, NY, for Defendants-Intervenors-Appellants Associations of New York State Supreme Court Justices in the City and State of New York and the Hon. David Demarest.

Caitlin J. Halligan, Solicitor General (Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General of the State of New York, Robert H. Easton, Mariya S. Treisman, Joel Graber, on the brief), New York, NY, as Statutory-Intervenor-Appellant and Counsel for Amicus Curiae New York State Legislature.

Adrian Zuckerman, Lowenstein Sandler PC (Robert C. Boneberg, Andrew R. Tulloch, Franklin R. Weissberg, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Women's Bar Association of the State of New York.

Steven De Castro, Law Office of Steven De Castro, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae Boards of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Dominican Bar Association, Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York, and James F. Castro-Blanco, Esq., Eliezer Rodriguez, Esq., and Fiordaliza A. Rodriguez, Esq., in their individual capacities.

John Z. Marangos (Denise Marangos, Robert Mulhall, on the brief), Staten Island,

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NY, for Amicus Curiae Richmond County Bar Association.

Christopher W. Chan (Steven B. Shapiro, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Asian American Bar Association of New York.

Preeta D. Bansal, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (Sheila L. Birnbaum; Bettina B. Plevan, President, The Association of the Bar of the City of New York, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Bar of the City of New York.

Jonathan R. Dowell, Heller Ehrman LLP (Holly K. Kulka, Ellen G. Jalkut, Anh P. Le, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Former New York State Judges.

Mariann Meier Wang, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, New York, NY, for Amici Curiae The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, The Puerto Rican Bar Association, Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County, Inc., The Center for Law and Social Justice, The Amistad Black Bar Association of Long Island, and the Rochester Black Bar Association.

Monique Ferrell, Assistant District Attorney (Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Kings County, on the brief), Brooklyn, NY, for Amicus Curiae Charles J. Hynes, District Attorney, Kings County.

Norman L. Reimer, President, New York County Lawyers' Association, (Peter Bienstock, Stephanie G. Wheeler, Bradley P. Smith, Christopher F. Nelson, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae New York County Lawyers' Association.

Katherine B. Forrest, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP (Joanne M. Gentile, Daniel P. Murphy, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Fund for Modern Courts.

Bruce S. Kaplan, Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman, LLP (Gaurav I. Shah, Laurence D. Borton, Jonathan Gottfried; Edward I. Koch, Bryan Cave LLP, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Edward I. Koch.

Tom Stein, Proskauer Rose LLP (Charles Sims, Peter Sherwin, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae Citizens Union of the City of New York.

Arthur N. Eisenberg (Steven Alan Reiss, David R. Singh, William R. Cruse, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, on the brief), New York, NY, for Amicus Curiae New York Civil Liberties Union.

Christopher Earl Strunk, Brooklyn, NY, pro se as amicus curiae.

Before: STRAUB, SOTOMAYOR, and HALL, Circuit Judges.

STRAUB, Circuit Judge.


This case requires us to peer inside New York State's political clubhouses and determine whether party leaders have arrogated to themselves a choice that belongs to the people. The task falls to us by way of interlocutory appeal. Specifically, defendants-appellants appeal from the grant of a preliminary injunction by the District Court for the Eastern District of New York (John Gleeson, Judge).

In its opinion and order, the District Court found a clear likelihood that New York State's process for nominating Supreme Court Justices violates the First Amendment rights of plaintiffs-appellees, who consist of judicial candidates, Republican and Democratic voters from across the

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state, and the non-profit group Common Cause/NY.1 Accordingly, the Court preliminarily enjoined defendants-appellants New York State Board of Elections and its commissioners from enforcing the statutory provisions that regulate the nominating process. Although the Court declined to order the State Legislature to enact a new nominating system, it required that nominations for the office of Supreme Court Justice proceed by primary election until the Legislature enacts a new scheme of its own accord. The District Court then stayed its order until after this year's election cycle, scheduled to conclude in November.

The precise issues presented are whether the District Court exceeded its discretion in (1) finding a clear likelihood that New York State's system for nominating its Supreme Court Justices violates the First Amendment, and (2) remedying that violation by (a) facially enjoining the relevant statutory provisions and (b) requiring that Supreme Court Justice nominations be settled through primary elections until the State Legislature enacts corrective legislation. We hold that the District Court acted within its allowable discretion on all scores.

Given the number of issues involved, we set out the following table of contents:

BACKGROUND .................................................................... 171
                 I. NEW YORK STATE'S ELECTORAL SCHEME ...................................... 171
                 A. The Primary Election ................................................ 172
                 B. The Delegate Lobbying Period ........................................ 176
                 C. The Nominating Conventions .......................................... 178
                 D. The General Election ................................................ 178
                 E. The Candidacy of Margarita López Torres ............................. 178
                 II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY .................................................... 181
                DISCUSSION .................................................................... 183
                 I. THE DISTRICT COURT DID NOT EXCEED ITS ALLOWABLE DISCRETION IN
                 CONCLUDING THAT PLAINTIFFS DEMONSTRATED A CLEAR LIKELIHOOD OF
                 SUCCESS ON THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT CLAIM ................................ 183
                 A. Standard of Review .................................................. 183
                 B. Substantive First Amendment Law ..................................... 183
                 C. The District Court Did Not Find and Apply An Overly Broad First
                 Amendment Right of Association .................................... 185
                 1. The First Amendment's Guarantee of Freedom of Association
                 Applies to New York's Judicial Nominating Process .............. 185
                

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 2. The First Amendment Guarantees Voters and Candidates a
                 Realistic Opportunity to Participate in the Nominating
                 Phase Free From Severe and Unnecessary Burdens ................. 187
                 3. The District Court Recognized and Applied
                 the Appropriate First Amendment Right .......................... 188
                 D. A Delegate-Based Nominating Convention System Is Not Per Se
                 Constitutional .................................................... 189
                 E. The Associational Rights of Political Parties Do Not Justify New
                 York's Nominating Scheme .......................................... 190
                 F. The Existence of an Alternate Means of Access to the General
                 Election Ballot Does Not Automatically Render Constitutional
                 New York's Regulation of the Primary Election Ballot and Nominating
                 Convention ........................................................ 193
                 G. The Burdens Imposed
...

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28 practice notes
  • Amidon v. Student Ass'n of State Univ. Of New York, Docket No. 05-6623-cv (L).
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • November 20, 2007
    ...173, 183, 111 S.Ct. 1759, 114 L.Ed.2d 233 (1991)). Facial invalidation is "strong medicine," Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elecs., 462 F.3d 161, 205 (2d Cir.2006), and is used "sparingly and as a last resort." Finley, 524 U.S. at 580, 118 S.Ct. 2168 (quoting Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U......
  • Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am. Holding, Inc., Docket No. 11–3303–cv.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • September 5, 2012
    ...Court and to us, as well as the facts found by the District Court in its opinion. See Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elections, 462 F.3d 161, 172 (2d Cir.2006) (drawing conclusions of law based upon facts found by the district court during a preliminary injunction proceeding), rev'd on o......
  • Davis v. Stratton, No. 1:06-CV-1323 (LEK/DRH).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of New York
    • September 9, 2008
    ...of a statute or policy must be necessary to serve a compelling government interest. Lopez Torres v. New York State Bd. of Elections, 462 F.3d 161, 184 (2d Defendants, on the other hand, argue that the Quad constitutes, at most, a limited or designated public forum. Although the parties seem......
  • Cotz v. Mastroeni, No. 05 Civ. 2991(WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 23, 2007
    ...certainly has a right "`"to associate for the advancement of political beliefs,"` "see Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elections, 462 F.3d 161, 183 (2d Cir.2006) (quoting Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 787, 103 S.Ct. 1564, 75 L.Ed.2d 547 (1983) (quoting Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Amidon v. Student Ass'n of State Univ. Of New York, Docket No. 05-6623-cv (L).
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
    • November 20, 2007
    ...173, 183, 111 S.Ct. 1759, 114 L.Ed.2d 233 (1991)). Facial invalidation is "strong medicine," Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elecs., 462 F.3d 161, 205 (2d Cir.2006), and is used "sparingly and as a last resort." Finley, 524 U.S. at 580, 118 S.Ct. 2168 (quoting Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U......
  • Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am. Holding, Inc., Docket No. 11–3303–cv.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • September 5, 2012
    ...Court and to us, as well as the facts found by the District Court in its opinion. See Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elections, 462 F.3d 161, 172 (2d Cir.2006) (drawing conclusions of law based upon facts found by the district court during a preliminary injunction proceeding), rev'd on o......
  • Cotz v. Mastroeni, No. 05 Civ. 2991(WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • February 23, 2007
    ...certainly has a right "`"to associate for the advancement of political beliefs,"` "see Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elections, 462 F.3d 161, 183 (2d Cir.2006) (quoting Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U.S. 780, 787, 103 S.Ct. 1564, 75 L.Ed.2d 547 (1983) (quoting Williams v. Rhodes, 393 U.S.......
  • Nassau & Suffolk Cnty. Taxi Owners Ass'n, Inc. v. State, CV 17-3839 (AKT)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • September 28, 2018
    ...freedom of association. See Aguayo v. Richardson, 473 F.2d 1090, 1099-1100 (2d Cir. 1973) ; Lopez Torres v. N.Y. State Bd. of Elections, 462 F.3d 161, 170 n.1 (2d Cir. 2006). That exception is not implicated here, as the Court explains below.13 In Nnebe v. Daus , 644 F.3d 147 (2d Cir. 2011)......
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