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term limits ruling

term limits ruling

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Published by: City Room on Jan 14, 2009
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09/14/2012

 
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK----------------------------------------XGuy Molinari, William C. Thompson, Jr.,individually and in his official capacityas the New York City Comptroller, BetsyGotbaum, individually and in her officialcapacity as Public Advocate for the Cityof New York, Bill de Blasio, individuallyand in his official capacity as a memberof the New York City Council, LetitiaJames, individually and in her officialcapacity as a member of the New York CityCouncil, Charles Barron, individually andin his capacity as a member of the NewYork City Council, Rosalie Caliendo,Phillip Depaolo, Philip Foglia, KentLebsock, Mike Long, Tom Long, Sarah Lyons,Andrea Rich, Ida Sanoff, Gloria Smith,Eric Snyder, Luvenia Suber, Kenneth J.Baer, Kenneth A. Diamondstone, PeterGleason, Mark Winston Griffith, AriHoffnung, Stanley Kalathara, AlfonsoQuiroz, Ydanis Rodriguez, Jo Anne Simon,New York Public Interest Research Group,Inc., U.S. Term Limits, and ResponsibleNew York,Plaintiffs,CV-08-4539 (CPS)(JO)- against -MEMORANDUMAND ORDERMichael R. Bloomberg, in his officialcapacity as Mayor of New York City,Christine C. Quinn, in her officialcapacity as Speaker of the New York CityCouncil, The New York City Council, TheCity of New York, James J. Sampel, in hisofficial capacity as president of theCommissioners of Elections for the Boardof Elections in New York City, and Boardof Elections of New York City,Defendants.----------------------------------------XSIFTON, Senior Judge.
Case 1:08-cv-04539-CPS-JO Document 66 Filed 01/13/2009 Page 1 of 64
 
- 2 -
1
For a detailed list of plaintiffs and defendants and theiraffiliations, see a prior opinion in this case at
Molinari v. Bloomberg 
, 2008U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101193, at *3-*7 (2008).
2
The claims are as follows: (1) deprivation of First Amendment rights toa meaningful vote in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“§ 1983”) (Claim I); (2)chilling of First Amendment rights to political expression in violation of §1983 (Claim II); (3) denial of First Amendment rights to access to the ballotin violation of § 1983 (Claim III); (4) denial of Fourteenth Amendment rightsto Due Process in violation of § 1983 (Claim IV); (5) disenfranchisement ofvoters in violation of Article I, § 1 of the New York State Constitution(Claim V); (6) violation of the requirement of Municipal Home Rule Law § 23(2)that voters approve fundamental changes to the City Council by referendum(Claim VI); (7) violation of the requirement of City Charter § 38 that votersapprove fundamental changes to their electoral and governmental structure(Claim VII); (8) actions in excess of the powers of the City Council underMunicipal Home Rule Law §§ 10, 23 and City Charter §§ 23, 38, and 40 (ClaimVIII); (9) violating the public policy of New York expressed in City Charter§§ 38, 1137, 1138 (Claim IX); (10) conflicts of interest on the part ofCouncil Members in violation of City Charter § 2604(b)(3) (Claim X); (11)conflicts of interest on the part of Mayor Bloomberg in violation of CityCharter § 2604(b)(3) (Claim XI); and (12) knowingly aiding and abetting theMayor’s violations of City Charter § 2604(b)(3) in violation of City Charter §2604(b)(2) and Conflicts Board Rule 1-13(d)(Claim XII).
Plaintiffs Guy Molinari, the New York City Comptroller,various members of the New York City Council who voted againstLocal Law 51, the Public Advocate, voters, prospectivecandidates, and good-government groups (“plaintiffs”) commencedthis action against Michael Bloomberg (“Mayor Bloomberg”),Christine Quinn (“Speaker Quinn”), the City of New York, andother municipal entities (“defendants”),
1
alleging violations ofthe First Amendment of the United States Constitution, theFourteenth Amendment, the New York State Constitution, theMunicipal Home Rule Law, and the New York City Charter.
2
Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that Local Law 51,amending the New York City Charter provisions limiting theeligibility of the Mayor, members of the City Council, and other
Case 1:08-cv-04539-CPS-JO Document 66 Filed 01/13/2009 Page 2 of 64
 
- 3 -elected officials to run for office, is unconstitutional and inviolation of Municipal Law and the City Charter and an injunctionbarring the Board of Elections from listing City officials whohave served two consecutive terms in office on the ballot in the2009 City elections. Now before the Court are defendants’ motionto dismiss this action pursuant to Federal Rule of CivilProcedure 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgmentpursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, and plaintiffs’motion for summary judgment pursuant to the same rule. For thereasons stated below, defendants’ motion for summary judgment isgranted, and plaintiffs’ motion is denied.
BACKGROUND
The following facts are drawn from the parties’ submissionsin connection with this motion. Disputes are noted.In a 1993 city-wide referendum, New York City voters adoptedan amendment to the City Charter instituting a two-term limit forcity officials by a vote of 59% in favor versus 41% against, withover one million votes cast. Plaintiffs’ Statement of MaterialFacts at ¶ 4 (“SMF”); Swain Decl. at ¶ 4(a). The City Charter wasaccordingly amended to state that it was the public policy of theCity of New York to limit the eligibility to run for office ofthe Mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough presidents orcouncil members to persons who had not served to or more
Case 1:08-cv-04539-CPS-JO Document 66 Filed 01/13/2009 Page 3 of 64

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