Case: Linda Smith v. Reese McKinney, Jr.

2:11-cv-00899 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama

Filed Date: Oct. 19, 2011

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On October 19, 2011, several couples who reside in the state of Alabama filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Alabama against Probate Judge Reese McKinney, Jr., under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and private counsel, sought a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees, alleging that the defendant's policies discriminated against non-U.S. citizens trying to obtain a …

On October 19, 2011, several couples who reside in the state of Alabama filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Alabama against Probate Judge Reese McKinney, Jr., under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The plaintiffs, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and private counsel, sought a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees, alleging that the defendant's policies discriminated against non-U.S. citizens trying to obtain a marriage license in Alabama.

In Alabama, no person may marry without a marriage license. One of a probate judge's ministerial jobs is to issue marriage licenses to those couples that meet the requirements. Alabama law does not explicitly say that proof of citizenship is a requirement to obtaining a marriage license. In fact, in 2008, the Alabama Attorney General, issued a statement saying citizenship was not a requirement to obtaining a marriage license. However, the Montgomery County Probate Office had on its website a requirement of showing "legal presence" in the U.S. for persons 18 years or older trying to obtain a marriage license.

On October 21, 2011, the plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint. On December 2, 2011, the clerk for the Middle District Court of Alabama accepted the plaintiffs' voluntary dismissal of the case.

Summary Authors

Perry Miska (3/23/2014)

People


Judge(s)

Coody, Charles S. (Alabama)

Watkins, William Keith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bauer, Mary C. (Virginia)

Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)

Knoepp, James Melvin (Georgia)

Rubio, Sigfredo (Alabama)

Werner, Daniel (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bolling, Frederic A (Alabama)

Gillis, Henry Lewis (Alabama)

Means, Tyrone Carlton (Alabama)

Judge(s)

Coody, Charles S. (Alabama)

Watkins, William Keith (Alabama)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bauer, Mary C. (Virginia)

Brooke, Samuel (Alabama)

Knoepp, James Melvin (Georgia)

Rubio, Sigfredo (Alabama)

Werner, Daniel (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bolling, Frederic A (Alabama)

Gillis, Henry Lewis (Alabama)

Means, Tyrone Carlton (Alabama)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Dec. 2, 2011 Docket
1

Class Action Complaint

Oct. 19, 2011 Complaint
12

First Amended Complaint

Oct. 21, 2011 Complaint

Resources

Title Description External URL

Linda Smith, et al. v. Reese McKinney, Jr.

Southern Poverty Law Center

Linda Smith, a U.S. citizen, and “John Doe,” an undocumented immigrant, had been a couple for more than nine years. When they decided to marry, they could not obtain a marriage license from the Montg… Oct. 19, 2011 https://www.splcenter.org/seeking-justice/case-docket/linda-smith-et-al-v-reese-mckinney-jr

Docket

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: Alabama

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 19, 2011

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are couples who wish to obtain a marriage license in Alabama but are barred from doing so because one or both persons are not U.S. citizens.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Southern Poverty Law Center

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

State of Alabama, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Equal Protection

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Marriage

Discrimination-basis:

Immigration status

Immigration/Border:

Constitutional rights

Status/Classification

Undocumented immigrants - rights and duties

Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation