Case: Luper v. Municipality of Anchorage

3:03-cv-00079 | U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska

Filed Date: April 10, 2003

Closed Date: June 20, 2003

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Case Summary

This case involved allegations that the city of Anchorage, Alaska, submitted a ballot initiative to voters ("Proposition 2"), which would amend the Municipal Charter to change local voting rules, without first obtaining approval from the US Attorney General as required under the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c.  Specifically, Proposition 2 lowered the threshold of votes required for mayoral candidates to win the popular vote from 50% to 45%. Proposition 2 also stated that, if passed by the…

This case involved allegations that the city of Anchorage, Alaska, submitted a ballot initiative to voters ("Proposition 2"), which would amend the Municipal Charter to change local voting rules, without first obtaining approval from the US Attorney General as required under the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973c. 

Specifically, Proposition 2 lowered the threshold of votes required for mayoral candidates to win the popular vote from 50% to 45%. Proposition 2 also stated that, if passed by the voters, it applied to the results of the election in which it was passed. On April 1, 2003, Anchorage voters passed Proposition 2. The same day, the mayoral candidate receiving the most votes earned 45.03% of the vote and was declared the winner. 

On April 10, 2003, the Plaintiff, a citizen of Anchorage, filed her original Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. The next day, April 11, 2003, the City submitted Proposition 2 to the Attorney General for approval. This case was heard by a three-judge panel of District Judges James Keith Singleton and James von der Heydt and Circuit Judge Richard C. Tallman.

On April 14, 2003, the original Plaintiff and another citizen filed an Amended Complaint against the Municipality of Anchorage and its Clerk, alleging Proposition 2 violated § 5 of the Voting Rights Act and various portions of the Anchorage Municipal Charter. Plaintiffs also alleged that applying Proposition 2 to the April 1 election violated due process. Plaintiffs later dismissed their Municipal Charter and due process claims in order to remain in federal court. 

On April 15, 2003, Plaintiffs filed a motion for injunctive relief to enjoin the effectiveness of Proposition 2, thereby triggering a run-off in the mayoral election. The Court denied the Motion the same day, finding that while Proposition 2 arguably might require Attorney General preclearance, it was likely that the Attorney General would preclear it before the new mayor was sworn into office on July 1, 2003. Accordingly, the Court opted to wait to see what action, if any, the Attorney General would take before scheduling any hearings on the case.

On May 15, 2003, the Chief of the Voting Section of the US Dept. of Justice notified the City that the Attorney General did not object to Proposition 2. Therefore, the only issue left for the Court to decide was what remedy, if any, to impose for the city’s failure to obtain the preclearance before the April 1 election.

The Court found that no remedy was warranted and dismissed the case with prejudice on June 20, 2003. 268 F.Supp.2d 1110. The plaintiffs moved for attorneys' fees on July 7, 2003, but the court denied the motion later that year, on August 25.

Summary Authors

Lauren Byrne (11/23/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4121775/parties/luper-v-municipality-of-anchorage/


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff
Attorney for Defendant

Alexander, Lori B. (Alaska)

Arms, Quincy H. (Alaska)

Arnold, Edward V (Alaska)

Christensen, Blair M. (Alaska)

Featherstun, Donald G. (Alaska)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
70

3:03-cv-00079

Civil Docket Entries for Case A03-0079--CV (JKS)

Luper, Deborah A. Et Al V. Anchorage, Municipality Et Al

Jan. 3, 2006

Jan. 3, 2006

Docket

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4121775/luper-v-municipality-of-anchorage/

Last updated Feb. 11, 2024, 2:54 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link

All future filings will be in the CM/ECF System. All documents filed prior to January 3, 2006, are available for review at the Clerk's Office.(LPV, COURT STAFF)

Jan. 3, 2006

Jan. 3, 2006

PACER
70

Copy of ACMS docket. Click on the hyperlink to access docket entries 1-70 from prior ACMS system.(JAG, COURT STAFF) (Entered: 03/16/2007)

Jan. 3, 2006

Jan. 3, 2006

Clearinghouse

Case Details

State / Territory: Alaska

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) project

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 10, 2003

Closing Date: June 20, 2003

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Citizens of City of Anchorage, Alaska

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Municipality of Anchorage (Anchorage, Anchorage), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

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)

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Amount Defendant Pays: $0

Content of Injunction:

Voting Process Changes

Issues

Voting:

Voting: General & Misc.

Vote decision rules