Case: City of Falls Church, Virginia v. Holder

1:13-cv-00201 | U.S. District Court for the District of District of Columbia

Filed Date: Feb. 15, 2013

Closed Date: May 29, 2013

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case is about a city bailout from the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act. On February 15, 2013, the City of Falls Church, Virginia filed a complaint against the United States Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General seeking declaratory relief for itself and its school district under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended.  42 U.S.C. § 1973b.  Falls Church alleged that it was entitled to Section 4 declaratory relief to exempt it from the Voting Rights Ac…

This case is about a city bailout from the preclearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

On February 15, 2013, the City of Falls Church, Virginia filed a complaint against the United States Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General seeking declaratory relief for itself and its school district under Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended.  42 U.S.C. § 1973b.  Falls Church alleged that it was entitled to Section 4 declaratory relief to exempt it from the Voting Rights Act’s special remedial provision for combating racial discrimination in voting, specifically a preclearance provision that requires covered jurisdictions to obtain Attorney General or federal court approval before implementing any changes in their voting laws.  42 U.S.C. § 1973c (Section 5).

Under Section 4 of the Act, political subdivisions within jurisdictions covered by the special provisions of the Act may seek a declaratory judgment if, during the preceding ten years: (1) no test has been used to abridge the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group within the political subdivision; (2) no final judgment has been entered determining the political subdivision has abridged the right to vote as described in (1); (3) no federal examiners have been assigned to the political subdivision; (4) all governmental units within the subdivision has complied with Section 5; and (5) the Attorney General has not objected to any proposed voting change in the political subdivision and no declaratory judgment has been denied regarding such change.  

In its February 15, 2013 complaint, Falls Church described how it and its school district had complied with the requirements under Section 4 of the Act.  Thus, Falls Church claimed that was entitled to declaratory judgment and requested exemption, or bailout, from the special remedial provisions of the Act and requested a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia hear its claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2284 and Section 4.

On April 25, 2013, Falls Church and the defendants filed a joint motion to approve a consent judgment and decree in favor of Falls Church.  The Attorney General had independently investigated Falls Church and its school district to determine if they had met the requirements for a bailout from the Act’s remedial provisions under Section 4. After Department of Justice attorneys interviewed several members of the Falls Church community and reviewed substantial documentary evidence, the Attorney General agreed that Falls Church had met the requirements under Section 4, exempting it from the Section 5 remedial provisions.  In addition to meeting the requirements of Section 4, the consent decree described Falls Church’s racial demographic, its city council and school board demographic history, its number of registered voters, and its election procedures.  The Attorney General had found that several voting changes in Falls Church had not been submitted in the preceding ten years but, after reviewing concluded that Falls Church either inadvertently failed to submit or in good faith believed such changes were not covered by Section 5.  

The three-judge panel signed the consent judgment and decree on May 29, 2013, granting Falls Church an exemption from the special remedial provisions of the Act.

The case is closed.

Summary Authors

(11/1/2023)

(11/28/2023)

(11/28/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4211875/parties/city-of-falls-church-virginia-v-holder/


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff
Attorney for Defendant

Abdoveis, Elaine M. (District of Columbia)

Adebonojo, Kenneth A. (District of Columbia)

ANDRAPALLIYAL, VINITA (District of Columbia)

ASTORGA, BERTHA M. (District of Columbia)

Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)

Attorney for Defendant

Abdoveis, Elaine M. (District of Columbia)

Adebonojo, Kenneth A. (District of Columbia)

ANDRAPALLIYAL, VINITA (District of Columbia)

ASTORGA, BERTHA M. (District of Columbia)

Bennett, Michelle Renee (District of Columbia)

Berry, Wayne R. (District of Columbia)

Berwick, Benjamin Leon (District of Columbia)

BIKLEN, MOLLY K. (District of Columbia)

BROWN, JESSICA RUSZKIEWICZ (District of Columbia)

Burch, Alan (District of Columbia)

Chung, Evelyn Hyun-Jung (District of Columbia)

Cohen, Jason Todd (District of Columbia)

Culliton-Gonzalez, Katherine Mary (District of Columbia)

Dawgert, Jessica (District of Columbia)

Driscoll, Jessica P. (District of Columbia)

EGEMONYE, UCHE N. (District of Columbia)

EPSTEIN, MATTHEW R. (District of Columbia)

FORNEY, GEOFFREY (District of Columbia)

Garrett, Jenigh J. (District of Columbia)

Girdharry, Glenn M. (District of Columbia)

GO, SAMUEL P. (District of Columbia)

Grogg, Adam Anderson (District of Columbia)

Haas, Alexander Kenneth (District of Columbia)

Haynes, Fred Elmore (District of Columbia)

HECKER, A. SCOTT (District of Columbia)

Humphreys, Bradley P. (District of Columbia)

Kade, Elizabeth L. (District of Columbia)

KATZ, ANDREW MICHAEL (District of Columbia)

Kennedy, Brian G. (District of Columbia)

Leong, Katherine (District of Columbia)

LUBY, ANDREA C. (District of Columbia)

McCracken, John Matthew (District of Columbia)

MURPHY, KRISTIN R. (District of Columbia)

Newton, Emily Sue (District of Columbia)

Nocito, John A. (District of Columbia)

Patil, Chetan A. (District of Columbia)

Peterson, Benton Gregory (District of Columbia)

Pfaffenroth, Peter C. (District of Columbia)

Phillips, Ashton S. (District of Columbia)

Popper, Robert D. (District of Columbia)

Pruski, Jacek (District of Columbia)

Reuveni, Erez (District of Columbia)

Riess, Daniel (District of Columbia)

Saltman, Julie Shana (District of Columbia)

Serafin, Francine Aurora (District of Columbia)

SHOHAM, ORLY (District of Columbia)

Sokolower, Heather G. (District of Columbia)

STRAWN, JOHN M. (District of Columbia)

SWEET, JOEL M. (District of Columbia)

Thorp, Galen Nicholas (District of Columbia)

Wechsler, Peter T. (District of Columbia)

WEEKLEY, JENNIFER D. (District of Columbia)

WELSH, ADAM F. (District of Columbia)

Westfall, Elizabeth Stewart (District of Columbia)

WILSON, SARAH S. (District of Columbia)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:13-cv-00201

Complaint for Declaratory Relief Under the Voting Rights Act

City Of Falls Church, Virginia v. Holder, et al

Feb. 15, 2013

Feb. 15, 2013

Complaint
5

1:13-cv-00201

Joint Motion for Entry of Consent Judgment and Decree

City Of Falls Church, Virginia v. Holder, et al

April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

Pleading / Motion / Brief
6

1:13-cv-00201

Consent Judgment and Decree

City Of Falls Church, Virginia v. Holder, et al

May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4211875/city-of-falls-church-virginia-v-holder/

Last updated March 9, 2024, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against ERIC HIMPTON HOLDER, JR, THOMAS E. PEREZ ( Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 4616054421) filed by CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(jf, ) (Entered: 02/15/2013)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Feb. 15, 2013

Feb. 15, 2013

Clearinghouse

SUMMONS (3) Issued as to ERIC HIMPTON HOLDER, JR, THOMAS E. PEREZ, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (jf, )

Feb. 15, 2013

Feb. 15, 2013

PACER
2

Unopposed MOTION to Convene Three-Judge Court by CITY OF FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA (jf, ) . (Entered: 02/15/2013)

Feb. 15, 2013

Feb. 15, 2013

PACER
3

ORDER granting 2 Motion to Convene Three-Judge Court. (SEE ORDER FOR COMPLETE DETAILS). Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 2/15/13. (lcabj1) (Entered: 02/15/2013)

Feb. 15, 2013

Feb. 15, 2013

PACER
4

USCA ORDER filed in USCA on February 22, 2013 FOR DESIGNATION OF JUDGES TO SERVE ON THREE-JUDGE DISTRICT COURT: designating Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle and District Judge Richard J. Leon to hear and determine this case with District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The U.S. Circuit Court Judge to preside over this case. (ds) (Entered: 02/25/2013)

Feb. 25, 2013

Feb. 25, 2013

PACER
5

Joint MOTION to Approve Consent Judgment and Decree by ERIC HIMPTON HOLDER, JR (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Garrett, Jenigh) (Entered: 04/25/2013)

1 Text of Proposed Order

View on RECAP

April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

Clearinghouse
6

CONSENT JUDGMENT AND DECREE. In favor of Plaintiff against Defendants. Each party shall bear its own attorney's fees, expenses and costs. (SEE JUDGMENT FOR COMPLETE DETAILS) Signed by Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle, and District Judges Richard J. Leon and Amy Berman Jackson on 05/29/2013. (jth) (Entered: 05/29/2013)

May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 15, 2013

Closing Date: May 29, 2013

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

City of Falls Church, Virginia

Plaintiff Type(s):

City/County Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Attorney General (District of Columbia), Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Law-enforcement

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Voting Rights Act, section 2, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 1973)

Voting Rights Act, section 5, 52 U.S.C. § 10304 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 1973c)

Voting Rights Act, unspecified, 52 U.S.C. § 10301 et seq (previously 42 U.S.C § 1973 et seq.)

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Neutral/Positive Reference

Issues

Voting:

Election administration

Voting: General & Misc.