Case: Constitution Party of Missouri v. St. Louis County

4:15-cv-00207 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

Filed Date: Jan. 30, 2015

Closed Date: Jan. 27, 2016

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Case Summary

This is a case about the right of candidates representing minor parties to participate in a local election.  The parties eventually agreed to a consent judgment that permanently enjoined the defendants from enforcing a law barring independent candidates or candidates from minor parties from  being included on the ballot. On January 30, 2015, the Constitution Party of Missouri and members thereof (the “Constitution Party”) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern Di…

This is a case about the right of candidates representing minor parties to participate in a local election.  The parties eventually agreed to a consent judgment that permanently enjoined the defendants from enforcing a law barring independent candidates or candidates from minor parties from  being included on the ballot.

On January 30, 2015, the Constitution Party of Missouri and members thereof (the “Constitution Party”) filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division. The Constitution Party sued St. Louis County and the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners (collectively, “St. Louis”).  Represented by the Freedom Center of Missouri, a non-profit legal advocacy organization, the Constitution Party sought the right for one of its members to run for an open seat on the St. Louis County Council, either as a member of the Constitution Party, or alternatively as an independent.  The St. Louis County charter forbade any person or party from being listed as a candidate to fill a vacant seat on the Council except candidates nominated by the political committees of “the two parties casting the highest vote for governor in the last election.”  The Constitution Party asked the court for a declaratory judgement that the provision of the charter at issue was unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, a permanent injunction against enforcement of the provision, and the inclusion of a specific candidate for the County Counsel on the special election ballot to fill the open seat. 

The plaintiffs filed for a temporary restraining order, and the court set a hearing for a temporary restraining order.  In the interim, however, the parties conferred and filed a joint motion for the entry of a consent judgment on February 10, 2015.  The court granted this motion on February 12, 2015.  The court entered an Amended Judgement consistent with the terms of the consent judgement agreed to by the parties.  The Amended Judgment enjoined St. Louis, with regard to April 2015 special election, from enforcing the provision that prevented members of minor parties from being on the ballot. The Amended Judgment also required that the Constitution Party candidate be included on the ballot.  However, the Amended Judgement did not resolve the underlying issue of whether such provision was constitutional. 

The defendants filed a motion to dismiss on February 23, 2015, which the plaintiffs responded to on March 3, 2015.  On June 25, 2015, the court denied the motion to dismiss, primarily on the grounds that the situation was likely to reoccur.  On January 27, 2016, the parties filed another joint motion for a consent judgement.  The court approved this motion the same day, entering a consent judgement and decree permanently enjoining St. Louis from enforcing the provision of its charter barring minor parties and their candidates from the ballot.  The case was closed upon approval of the consent judgment. 

Summary Authors

Porter Wiseman (12/2/2022)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4299561/parties/constitution-party-of-missouri-v-st-louis-county/


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff
Attorney for Defendant

Hughes, Michael E. (Missouri)

Krane, Peter J. (Missouri)

Levin, Linda (Missouri)

Expert/Monitor/Master/Other

Crotzer, Darold E. (Missouri)

Gabel, Angela Bullock (Missouri)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

4:15-cv-00207

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

Jan. 30, 2015

Jan. 30, 2015

Complaint
9

4:15-cv-00207

Joint Motion for Entry of a Consent Judgment

Feb. 10, 2015

Feb. 10, 2015

Settlement Agreement
10

4:15-cv-00207

Consent Judgment

Feb. 11, 2015

Feb. 11, 2015

Order/Opinion
14

4:15-cv-00207

Amended Judgment Without Objection

Feb. 12, 2015

Feb. 12, 2015

Order/Opinion
25

4:15-cv-00207

Memorandum and Order

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

Order/Opinion
32

4:15-cv-00207

Consent Judgment and Decree

Jan. 27, 2016

Jan. 27, 2016

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4299561/constitution-party-of-missouri-v-st-louis-county/

Last updated Nov. 30, 2023, 2:35 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against defendant All Plaintiffs with receipt number 0865-4704700, in the amount of $400 Non-Jury Demand,, filed by Christopher Clegg, Cynthia L. Redburn, Shelley Clegg, George Blagoue, Gary Wiggins, William Renaud, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Terri Stoner. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Original Case Filing Form, # 3 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 1 - Redburn Declaration of Candidacy, # 4 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 2 - Redburn DOR Tax Affidavit, # 5 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 3 - Constitution Party Nomination Letter, # 6 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 4 - Wall Letter Rejecting Redburn Candidacy)(Roland, David) (Additional attachment(s) added on 1/30/2015: # 7 Summons Kellett, # 8 Summons King, # 9 Summons Maupin, # 10 Summons Pluemer, # 11 Summons Board of Election, # 12 Summons St. Louis County, # 13 Summons Wall) (BAK). (Entered: 01/30/2015)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

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2 Original Case Filing Form

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3 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 1 - Redburn Declaration of Candidacy

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4 *Restricted*

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5 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 3 - Constitution Party Nomination Letter

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6 Exhibit Plaintiffs' Exhibit 4 - Wall Letter Rejecting Redburn Candidacy

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7 Summons Kellett

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8 Summons King

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9 Summons Maupin

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10 Summons Pluemer

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11 Summons Board of Election

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12 Summons St. Louis County

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13 Summons Wall

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Jan. 30, 2015

Jan. 30, 2015

Clearinghouse
2

NOTICE OF PROCESS SERVER by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins Process Server: Robert Pedroli, III (BAK) (Entered: 01/30/2015)

Jan. 30, 2015

Jan. 30, 2015

PACER

Case Opening Notification: 11 summons issued. The summons were emailed to attorney David Roland. Judge Assigned: U.S. District Judge Ronnie L. White. (BAK)

Jan. 30, 2015

Jan. 30, 2015

PACER
3

MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Affidavit of Cynthia Redburn, # 2 Affidavit Affidavit of George Blagoue, # 3 Affidavit Affidavit of Christopher Clegg, # 4 Affidavit Affidavit of Shelley Clegg, # 5 Affidavit Affidavit of William Renaud, # 6 Affidavit Affidavit of Terri Stoner, # 7 Affidavit Affidavit of Gary Wiggins, # 8 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order Issuing TRO, # 9 Attachment Notice of Motion for TRO)(Roland, David) (Entered: 02/06/2015)

Feb. 6, 2015

Feb. 6, 2015

PACER
4

MEMORANDUM in Support of Motion re 3 MOTION for Temporary Restraining Order filed by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. (Roland, David) (Entered: 02/06/2015)

Feb. 6, 2015

Feb. 6, 2015

PACER
5

NOTICE of Request for TRO Hearing by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins (BRP) (Entered: 02/06/2015)

Feb. 6, 2015

Feb. 6, 2015

PACER
6

Docket Text ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Court will hear Plaintiffs Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF No. 3] on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 10S. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 2/9/15. (JEB) (Entered: 02/09/2015)

Feb. 9, 2015

Feb. 9, 2015

PACER
7

ENTRY of Appearance by Darold E. Crotzer, Jr for Defendants Richard H. Kellett, John P. King, John W. Maupin, Ann Pleumer, St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, Mary Wall. (Crotzer, Darold) (Entered: 02/09/2015)

Feb. 9, 2015

Feb. 9, 2015

PACER
8

SUMMONS Returned Executed filed by Christopher Clegg, Cynthia L. Redburn, Shelley Clegg, George Blagoue, Gary Wiggins, William Renaud, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Terri Stoner. Richard H. Kellett served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015; John P. King served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015; John W. Maupin served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015; Ann Pleumer served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015; St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015; St. Louis County Missouri served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015; Mary Wall served on 2/2/2015, answer due 2/23/2015. (Roland, David) (Entered: 02/10/2015)

Feb. 10, 2015

Feb. 10, 2015

PACER
9

MOTION to Approve Consent Judgment by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Consent Judgment)(Roland, David) (Entered: 02/10/2015)

1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Consent Judgment

View on RECAP

Feb. 10, 2015

Feb. 10, 2015

Clearinghouse
10

CONSENT JUDGMENT...(SEE ORDER FOR COMPLETE DETAILS) IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Consent Judgment does not fully resolve the issues in the case, as it leaves open the question of whether St. Louis County Charter § 2.150, on its face, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments by completely excluding minor parties and independent candidates from future special elections to fill vacancies on the St. Louis County Council. This issue is not moot and is still before the court for resolution because it is capable of repetition while evading review; the case shall proceed accordingly. IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 2/11/2015. (NEB) (Entered: 02/11/2015)

Feb. 11, 2015

Feb. 11, 2015

Clearinghouse
11

Docket Text ORDER: Pursuant to the Consent Judgment [ECF No. 10] entered this date, the hearing for the Temporary Restraining Order set for today, February 11, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. is CANCELED. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 2/11/15. (JEB) (Entered: 02/11/2015)

Feb. 11, 2015

Feb. 11, 2015

PACER
12

ENTRY of Appearance by Peter J. Krane for Defendant St. Louis County Missouri. (Krane, Peter) (Entered: 02/11/2015)

Feb. 11, 2015

Feb. 11, 2015

PACER
13

Joint MOTION for Leave to File Joint Motion For Entry of Amended Judgment Without Objection by Defendant St. Louis County Missouri. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Krane, Peter) (Entered: 02/11/2015)

Feb. 11, 2015

Feb. 11, 2015

PACER
14

AMENDED JUDGMENT WITHOUT OBJECTION (re 10 Consent Judgment)... IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, its officers, employees, or agents, and those acting on its behalf are preliminarily enjoined from enforcing St. Louis County Charter § 2.150, which only permits the Board of Election Commissioners to accept nominees selected by committees of the "the two parties casting the highest vote for governor in the last election" as candidates in a special election to fill a vacancy on the St. Louis County Council. Minor party or independent candidates wishing to run for the vacant Sixth County Council District seat in the April 7, 2015, special election may do so, as long as they comply with the requirements and deadlines established in Missouri statutes governing county-level special elections including, but not limited to, §§ 115.321, 115.325, and 115.329, RSMo. (SEE ORDER FOR COMPLETE DETAILS) Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 2/12/2015. (NEB) (Entered: 02/12/2015)

Feb. 12, 2015

Feb. 12, 2015

Clearinghouse
15

ANSWER to 1 Complaint,,, by Richard H. Kellett, John P. King, John W. Maupin, Ann Pleumer, St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, Mary Wall.(Crotzer, Darold) (Entered: 02/23/2015)

Feb. 23, 2015

Feb. 23, 2015

PACER
16

ENTRY of Appearance by Linda Wasserman for Defendant St. Louis County Missouri. (Wasserman, Linda) (Entered: 02/23/2015)

Feb. 23, 2015

Feb. 23, 2015

PACER
17

MOTION to Dismiss Case by Defendant St. Louis County Missouri. (Wasserman, Linda) (Entered: 02/23/2015)

Feb. 23, 2015

Feb. 23, 2015

RECAP
18

MEMORANDUM in Support of Motion re 17 MOTION to Dismiss Case filed by Defendant St. Louis County Missouri. (Wasserman, Linda) (Entered: 02/23/2015)

Feb. 23, 2015

Feb. 23, 2015

PACER

***REMARK regarding doc. 17 and 18 : The use of an attorney's electronic filing login and password to file a pleading, motion, memorandum or other document constitutes the signature of that attorney on that document for all purposes, including Fed.R.Civ.P. 11. ( See Local Rule 2.11 located on the court website.) (BRP)

Feb. 24, 2015

Feb. 24, 2015

PACER
19

MOTION for Entry of Clerk's Default against Defendants St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, Kellett, Pleumer, King, Maupin, and Wall by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. (Roland, David) (Entered: 02/26/2015)

Feb. 26, 2015

Feb. 26, 2015

PACER
20

MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 17 MOTION to Dismiss Case filed by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. (Roland, David) (Entered: 03/03/2015)

March 3, 2015

March 3, 2015

PACER
21

NOTICE by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins re 20 Memorandum in Opposition to Motion, (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Service for Plaintiffs' Memorandum Opposing St. Louis County Motion to Dismiss)(Roland, David) (Entered: 03/04/2015)

March 4, 2015

March 4, 2015

PACER
22

Clerk's DENIAL OF DEFAULT as to Defendants St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, Richard H. Kellett, John P. King,John W. Maupin, Ann Pleumer, and Mary Wall (JWJ) (Entered: 03/09/2015)

March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

PACER
23

REPLY to Response to Motion re 17 MOTION to Dismiss Case filed by Defendant St. Louis County Missouri. (Wasserman, Linda) (Entered: 03/09/2015)

March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

PACER
24

ENTRY of Appearance by Angela Bullock Gabel for Defendants Richard H. Kellett, John P. King, John W. Maupin, Ann Pleumer, St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, Mary Wall. (Gabel, Angela) (Entered: 05/07/2015)

May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015

PACER
25

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER... IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 17 ) is DENIED. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 6/25/2015. (NEB) (Entered: 06/25/2015)

June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015

Clearinghouse
26

Defendant St. Louis County's Answer And Affirmative Defenses ANSWER to 1 Complaint,,, by St. Louis County Missouri.(Wasserman, Linda) (Entered: 07/08/2015)

July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

PACER
27

RULE 16 ORDER: This case is assigned to Track: 2 (Standard). Joint Scheduling Plan due by 8/18/2015. Rule 16 Conference set for 8/25/2015 10:00 AM in Chambers before District Judge Ronnie L. White. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on July 8, 2015. (BRP) (Entered: 07/08/2015)

July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

PACER
28

JOINT SCHEDULING PLAN by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. . (Roland, David) (Entered: 08/18/2015)

Aug. 18, 2015

Aug. 18, 2015

PACER
29

Docket Text ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Rule 16 Conference, previously scheduled for August 25, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., is CANCELED. The Court will issue a case management order based upon the parties' joint scheduling plan. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on 8/18/15. (JEB) (Entered: 08/18/2015)

Aug. 18, 2015

Aug. 18, 2015

PACER
30

CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER: This case is assigned to Track: 2 (Standard). Discovery Completion due by 1/29/2016. Non-Dispositive Motions due by 2/9/2016. Dispositive Motions due by 1/29/2016. Bench Trial set for 6/30/2016 09:00 AM in Courtroom 10S before District Judge Ronnie L. White. Pretrial Compliance due by 6/20/2016. Motion in Limine due by 6/10/2016. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on August 18, 2015. (BRP) (Entered: 08/18/2015)

Aug. 18, 2015

Aug. 18, 2015

PACER
31

MOTION to Approve Consent Judgment and Decree by Plaintiffs George Blagoue, Christopher Clegg, Shelley Clegg, Constitution Party of Missouri, Dan Fitzhenry, Cynthia L. Redburn, William Renaud, Terri Stoner, Gary Wiggins. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Consent Judgment and Decree)(Roland, David) (Entered: 01/27/2016)

Jan. 27, 2016

Jan. 27, 2016

PACER
32

CONSENT JUDGMENT and DECREE: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Defendant St. Louis County, Missouri and Defendant St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners, their officers, employees, or agents, and those acting on their behalf or in concert with it, are permanently enjoined from enforcing the clause "the two parties casting the highest vote for governor in the last election" contained in Section 2.150 of the St. Louis County Charter, against any political candidate for a county office, in any election to fill vacancies on the St. Louis County Council. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendant St. Louis County, Missouri and Defendant St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners shall be hereafter bound by the directives of Missouri law, as specifically set out in Section 115.321(4) RSMo, regarding the nomination of independent candidates and candidates of established political parties, for any county office, including vacancies on the St. Louis County Council. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs have and shall recover of Defendants $30,973.40 in attorney's fees and costs. IT IS SO ORDERED. Signed by District Judge Ronnie L. White on January 27, 2016. (BRP) (Entered: 01/27/2016)

Jan. 27, 2016

Jan. 27, 2016

Clearinghouse

Case Details

State / Territory: Missouri

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) project

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 30, 2015

Closing Date: Jan. 27, 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The Constitution Party of Missouri and members thereof.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

St. Louis County and the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners (St. Louis, St. Louis), County

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):

Equal Protection

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $30,973.40

Order Duration: 2016 - None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

Voting:

Voting: General & Misc.

Candidate qualifications

Election administration