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E-Filed 04/23/2013 @ 02:57:33 P M Honorable Robert Esdale Clerk Of The Court

No. 1120465

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA

HUGH MCINNISH, e t a l .
V.

BETH CHAPMAN, S e c r e t a r y o f State

B r i e f o f A p p e l l e e Beth Chapman

OF

ND

A t t o r n e y s f o r the A p p e l l e e / Defendant A p r i l 23, 2013

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ORAL ARGUMENT NOT REQUESTED

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STATE OF ALABAMA

Luther Strange (STR003) Attorney General Andrew L. Brasher (BRA143) Deputy Solicitor General James W. Davis {DAV103) Laura E. Howell (HOW084) Assistant Attorneys General
OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

501 Washington Avenue Montgomery, AL 36130 (334) 242-7300

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STATEMENT REGARDING ORAL ARGUMENT

of

statutory interpretation. events have

In light

o f h e r argument

moot,

the Secretary

of State

does

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not think

intervening

rendered

a ruling

on t h e q u e s t i o n that oral to

argument present

i s necessary,

b u t welcomes

the opportunity

argument i f t h i s C o u r t

disagrees.

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This

matter

concerns

a single

straightforward question that

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION TABLE OF AUTHORITIES STATEMENT OF THE CASE STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES STATEMENT OF THE FACTS STANDARD OF REVIEW SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT ARGUMENT I. II. III.

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i

STATEMENT REGARDING ORAL ARGUMENT

i i

iv v 1 2 2 3 4 5

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P l a i n t i f f s ' c l a i m s a r e moot b e c a u s e t h e e l e c t i o n has a l r e a d y taken p l a c e P l a i n t i f f s ' c l a i m s do n o t f a l l " e x c e p t i o n t o mootness." E v e n were t h e y n o t moot, c l a i m s would s t i l l f a i l A. u n d e r an

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Plaintiffs' ii

5 6 9

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The C o u r t l a c k s s u b j e c t m a t t e r j u r i s d i c t i o n over the claims p u r s u a n t t o A l a . Code 17-16-44 The S e c r e t a r y h a s no l e g a l d u t y t o investigate or v e r i f y the c r e d e n t i a l s of candidates p r i o r t o p l a c i n g them on t h e b a l l o t Only Congress has t h e a u t h o r i t y t o judge t h e q u a l i f i c a t i o n s o f P r e s i d e n t i a l c a n d i d a t e s after an e l e c t i o n has been h e l d

OF

B.

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10

C.

13

D.

CONCLUSION CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

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ND S

OF

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iii

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Plaintiffs' b a l l o t s had some v o t e r s , impossible, barred

c l a i m was f i l e d a f t e r been p r i n t e d and s e n t t o making t h e i r a l t e r a t i o n and t h e c l a i m s t i m e -

13 14

16

STATEMENT OF JURISDICTION

pursuant

t o A l a . Code 12-2-7(1) and R u l e 3 o f t h e A l a b a m a

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OF

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iv

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Rules of Appellate

Procedure,

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This

Court

has

jurisdiction

to

hear

this

matter

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

CASES

B a r b e r v . C o r n e r s t o n e Cmty. O u t r e a c h , I n c 42 So. 3d 65 ( A l a . 2010) B e l l V. E a g e r t o n , 908 So. 2d 204 ( A l a . 2002) Chapman v . Gooden, 974 So. 2d 972 (2007) C n t y . o f L o s A n g e l e s v. D a v i s , 440 U.S. 625 (1979) Ex P a r t e F o r r e s t e r , 914 So. 2d 855 ( A l a . 2005) Ex p a r t e Graham, 702 So. 2d 1215 ( A l a . 1997) In r e A d o p t i o n o f Walgreen, 710 N.E.2d 1226 (1999)

In r e : Stephen J . , 932 N.E.2d 87 ( 1 1 1 . App. C t . 2010) K e y e s v . Bowen, 117 C a l . R p t r . 3d 207 ( C a l . App. 2010) Moore V. O g i l v i e , 394 U.S. 814 (1969)

R i c e V. S i n k f i e l d , 732 So. 2d 993 ( A l a . 1998) R o b i n s o n v. Bowen, 567 F. Supp. 2 d 1144 (N.D. C a l . 2008)

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R o g e r s Found. R e p a i r , I n c . v. P o w e l l , 748 So. 2d 869 ( A l a . 1 9 9 9 ) R o p e r V. Rhodes, 988 So. 2d 471 ( A l a . 2008)

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S l a w s o n v . A l a . F o r e s t r y Common, 631 So. 2d 953 ( A l a . 1994) Wood V. B o o t h , 990 So. 2d 314 ( A l a . 2008)
STATUTES

Ala. Ala.

Code 17-14-31 Code 17-14-44

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

U.S.

C o n s t . Amend. X X I I 1

OTHER AUTHORITIES

Alabama E l e c t i o n R e s u l t s , a v a i l a b l e a t http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/ results/states/alabama A t t ' y Gen. Op. 1998-200

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vi

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STATEMENT OF THE CASE This litigation of presents a challenge

qualifications election State cycle.

Presidential

candidates that

Plaintiffs

contend

the Secretary of

candidate

prior

t o p l a c i n g h i s o r h e r name on t h e b a l l o t . accuse h e r o f f a i l i n g Barack to investigate the They seek an

Specifically, qualifications injunction back the

they

that clock

would to

have last

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of President

the Secretary and

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Obama. was duty prevents after

has a

duty

to i n v e s t i g a t e the c r e d e n t i a l s

attempt remove

November ballots.

Obama's name f r o m A l a b a m a ' s The claims Alabama candidate the the

D e f e n d a n t moved t o d i s m i s s were moot once of

TH

on g r o u n d s t h a t over;

the election has no

Secretary

OF

State

to investigate with

qualifications,

and no

power

to interfere

jurisdiction-stripping

ND

e l e c t i o n of the President

of the United statute

S t a t e s ; a n d (3) courts from

e x a m i n i n g t h e c o n d u c t o f an e l e c t i o n The

i t has o c c u r r e d . to dismiss,

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Court

below

granted followed.

the Defendant's motion

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and

t h i s appeal

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to in the

the

2012 of

each

to turn President

(1) t h e (2) t h e

STATEMENT OF THE ISSUES

to

investigate 2.

the q u a l i f i c a t i o n s

of electoral

Is the question duty to

o f whether

the Secretary

has

investigate

the s p e c i f i c

Presidential following

candidates the actual

i n t h e November 2012 e l e c t i o n occurrence

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of the were and

c e r t i f i c a t i o n of i t s 3. Alabama after Does courts the from

results?

jurisdiction-stripping examining t h e conduct

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i t has o c c u r r e d ?

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS Barack Following status affected The Circuit before of his Obama was first elected President asked in about 2008. the that

h i s American

OF

h i s election,

questions

citizenship,

ND

Plaintiff

eligibility filed

to hold the Presidency. a complaint i n Montgomery than about one County month

Court

on

October

11, 2012, l e s s questions

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the

election,

raising

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Obama's Br. had

citizenship.

See g e n e r a l l y that

d o c . 1, s e e a l s o B l . the Secretary of State of

a t 2. an

I n i t , he a l l e g e d duty

affirmative

to verify 2

the q u a l i f i c a t i o n s

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candidates? credentials election statute o f an whether

1.

Does t h e S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e have an a f f i r m a t i v e

duty

of State of

moot and

prevent election

President

every

individual

appearing

on t h e b a l l o t

i n the State of

12).

The

complaint o f Barack

took

particular

issue

qualifications his to birth

Obama, a l l e g i n g s p e c i f i c a l l y and t h a t

certificate

was f r a u d u l e n t Secretary

her oath

of office.

Chapman was o b l i g a t e d t o 7-12) .

investigate that a l l e g a t i o n . Plaintiffs Secretary candidate's fails ballot impose now r e q u e s t

See i d . a t 3-4 {ff

a w r i t o f mandamus t o c o m p e l t h e

to obtain birth

a certified certificate.

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copy

I f t h e former

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o f each P r e s i d e n t i a l candidate

t o provide

one, h i s name s h o u l d

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be s t r i c k e n f r o m t h e also seek t o

requirement

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and h i s votes

revoked.

Plaintiffs

that

the Secretary

t o do t h i s f o r

2005) . So.

EN D

de

novo."

"Appellate

OF

every future e l e c t i o n cycle.

STANDARD OF REVIEW of a ruling on a q u e s t i o n o f law i s (Ala.

review

Ex P a r t e

Forrester,

914 So. 2 d 8 5 5 , 858

See a l s o R o g e r s Found. R e p a i r , Ex p a r t e

I n c . v . P o w e l l , 748 702 So. 2 d 1215

2 d 869 ( A l a . 1 9 9 9 ) ; 1997) .

Graham,

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(Ala.

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with

A l a b a m a f o r t h e November 2012 e l e c t i o n .

See d o c . 1 a t 4 ( f the that

i n obedience

SUMMARY OF THE ARGUMENT

State

a r e moot.

The

election

Plaintiffs

challenge

has already

passed,

and i t s r e s u l t s they

s i n c e been c e r t i f i e d . President Obama's

The r e l i e f name from

seek, t h e removal o f

t h e Alabama

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from to

impossible t o grant. Although one o f them Plaintiffs cite three

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by Alabama Moreover, entitled

exceptions

i s not recognized

courts.

t h a t do a p p l y a r e i n a p p l i c a b l e h e r e . E v e n were P l a i n t i f f s ' fail no for s i xdifferent a f f i r m a t i v e duty she p l a c e s

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c l a i m s n o t moot, t h e y w o u l d The S e c r e t a r y

TH

reasons.

to verify

the credentials ballots.

has

an a f f i r m a t i v e s t a t u t o r y duty t o h e r by a those candidates' within

OF

candidate

on t h e S t a t e ' s

to certify party.

presented ensuring to

political

DS

eligibility

for office political

Furthermore, past

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leadership

the candidate's

Alabama

c o u r t s may n o t e x a m i n e

elections, Plaintiffs

and a r e d i s q u a l i f i e d present.

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claims

the United

Congress

i s the only

entity

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attempt have ballot, of The t a s k conduct

The

claims

Plaintiffs

bring

against

the Secretary of to

long

i s

t o mootness, The two

still

o f State has every

Rather, she any c a n d i d a t e s of

i s left party.

t h e conduct o f hearing the States an

investigation President. presented was made

into Even

the

qualifications from only legal after

of

candidate

for

their

claims

the

relief

impossible

following

the

mailing

ballots For be

w i t h the contested these reasons, the

candidates' Plaintiffs'

names on

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motion to renders the relief, (namely, to issues a v. legally U.S. 625,

a r g u m e n t s a r e due

dismissed. ARGUMENT are

I.

Plaintiffs' has

claims

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moot because

a l r e a d y taken p l a c e . Secretary noted

As

the

i n her

occurrence here moot.

o f t h e November 2012 Plaintiffs'

TH

election

requested

of of

his citizenship

OF

President

Obama's name f r o m t h e

Alabama b a l l o t

status i s provided

" [A] longer

ND

point.

his birth

certificate),

i s impossible

case or the

i s moot when t h e the parties

presented

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'live' in

lack

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interest

outcome." 42 So. v. 3d 65,

Barber 70-71 440

Cornerstone

Outreach, Cnty. of

Inc., Los

( A l a . 2010) 631

Angeles

Davis, 5

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they of them. the dismiss, the removal until a hard at grant are

aside

shortcomings,

Plaintiffs sought

absentee

to

election

the

claims of

proof copy this

no

cognizable Cmty. (quoting (1979)).

I n B e l l V. E a g e r t o n , an all See election

t h i s Court

held that the occurrence

of

available generally

options 908

to stop 2d 204

i t s h a p p e n i n g mooted ( A l a . 2002) . o f t h i s case

So.

Plaintiffs' those prevent

assertion,

the facts

i n Bell:

Plaintiffs

d i d n o t seek

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nor d i d they cite three of party would

an i n j u n c t i o n

the election's

occurrence,

challenge i t s results.^ II.

P l a i n t i f f s ' claims do not f a l l under an ''exception

In

their to

brief. mootness:

Plaintiffs (1)

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to mootness. "

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exceptions importance, review, detriment

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questions

(2) i s s u e s (3)

capable where

of repetition a

i n t h e a b s e n c e o f an i s s u e ' s r e s o l u t i o n .

OF

and

cases

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a Contrary closely great yet suffer Bl.

and t h e p l a i n t i f f ' s

f a i l u r e to a v a i l himself of case. to

mimic to

explicitly

different public evading a Br.

M o r e o v e r , P l a i n t i f f s c o u l d n o t have c h a l l e n g e d t h e r e s u l t s o f A l a b a m a ' s e l e c t i o n i n s u c h a way a s t o a f f e c t i t s o u t c o m e . Although P r e s i d e n t Obama won r e - e l e c t i o n b a s e d on t h e t o t a l t a l l y o f e l e c t o r a l v o t e s n a t i o n w i d e , he d i d n o t c a r r y t h e S t a t e o f A l a b a m a , where a s u b s t a n t i a l majority of voters (60.7%) supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney. See Alabama Election Results, available at http://elections.nytimes.com/ 2012/results/states/alabama (last accessed April 12, 2013). R e m o v i n g P r e s i d e n t Obama's name f r o m A l a b a m a b a l l o t s w o u l d n o t a l t e r r e s u l t s o f t h e e l e c t i o n on e i t h e r t h e S t a t e o r n a t i o n a l level.

FR IE

ND S

at

13.

Of

those

three,

only

the

first

two

are here.

recognized

The

exception is

t o mootness f o r q u e s t i o n s narrowly in

of great Alabama

importance "[A]n great

interpreted exists for a

exception public v. To

'moot c a s e i n v o l v i n g i s s u e s may 972, recur 989

importance, 974

which So. 2d

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an v. Here,

i n the (2007)

Chapman added).

Gooden,

determine whether the three the for the criteria:

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(1) the of of guiding the Slawson been 1998-200.

exception

applies,

must e v a l u a t e question, (2)

p u b l i c nature

desirability purpose that

determination and (3) the Id. 631

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public will Ala. the

recur. Comm' n, third

at So. 2d

989

TH

likelihood

question

(quoting

953

(Ala. 1994)).

factors

OF

i n the

a n a l y s i s preclude of the

a p p l i c a t i o n of duties

exception. these

The

extent

Secretary's

circumstances Opinion

DS

has

already the Op.

clarified

generally,

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official

i s s u e d by Gen.

State Attorney

Att'y

Furthermore,

^The f i n a l e x c e p t i o n P l a i n t i f f s p r o p o s e i s n o t r e c o g n i z e d i n A l a b a m a c o u r t s , and i t s o n l y s u p p o r t comes f r o m a cases p e c i f i c r u l i n g by a l o w e r c o u r t i n a n o t h e r s t a t e . See I n re: Stephen J., 932 N.E.2d 87 (111. App. Ct. 2010) ( a u t h o r i z i n g an e x c e p t i o n where one p a r t y w o u l d s u f f e r a detriment). 7

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of second in General.

i n A l a b a m a c o u r t s , ^ and

n e i t h e r one

applies

public

courts. of

future.'" (emphasis courts the

authoritative officers, generally Forestry and the

under an See the

circumstances

at issue

can never

recur

because

President again.

See

U.S. C o n s t . Amend. X X I I narrowly,'" a matter of

1.

Since

"this the

construed involves

even public

though

importance, this

f a c t o r s weigh a g a i n s t e x c e p t i n g doctrine. Slawson at 989

case from t h e mootness In re Adoption of

W a l g r e e n , 710 N.E.2d 1226, 1227 ( 1 9 9 9 ) ) . An capable if V. has exception

t o mootness a l s o e x i s t s

of repetition, procedural

b u t w o u l d c o n t i n u a l l y "evade timing

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(quoting restrictions election challenge issue is The s i t u a t i o n

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was obvious

where an i s s u e i s review" Moore Court

typical Ogilvie,

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applied.

specifically plaintiffs' even after

recognized

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394 U.S. 814, 816 ( 1 9 6 9 ) . the l i m i t s

However, t h i s o f Moore's

"[The] moot,

challenge

to state election

OF

the challenged

because the p l a i n t i f f s to 994 future elections."

could challenge Rice A

the law w i t h

v. S i n k f i e l d ,

732 So. 2d 993, election "capable only of

n . l (Ala. mootness

ND

1998). where

t o an

repetition."

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escapes

the

Moore

a t 816. example

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fact

a paradigmatic

o f when an e x c e p t i o n

apply:

P r e s i d e n t Obama

(the P l a i n t i f f s '

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case the other

Obama i s t e r m - l i m i t e d and may n o t r u n f o r t h e o f f i c e

'exception i s arguably two

holding:

l a w was n o t completed, respect

at bar i si n does n o t target) i s

term-limited, again. then,

and b a r r e d Const,

from amend.

running XXII,

f o r the Presidency

the circumstances here

of the election

that

pose a s i t u a t i o n review,

that i s capable

of repetition,

and c o n s e q u e n t l y ,

no e x c e p t i o n t o m o o t n e s s a p p l i e s .

I I I . Even were they not moot. P l a i n t i f f s ' c l a i m s would still Aside occurrence claims other here from of fail. the being t h e November

rendered 2012

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moot by elections. s u b j e c t matter to distinguish

are s t i l l

due t o be d i s m i s s e d

EF

on a number o f

A.

The

Court

TH

grounds.

lacks

over the claims pursuant t o A l a . Code 17-16 44. Alabama the far

courts

OF

are generally barred

from a s c e r t a i n i n g except so

"legality,

ND

conduct o r r e s u l t s

o f any e l e c t i o n

a s a u t h o r i t y t o do so [ i s ] s p e c i a l l y a n d s e t down b y s t a t u t e . "

and s p e c i f i c a l l y 990

enumerated

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Wood v . B o o t h ,

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So. In

2 d 314, 318 ( A l a . 2008) of P l a i n t i f f s '

( q u o t i n g A l a . Code 1 7 - 1 4 - 4 4 ) . questioning

spite

attempts

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challenge

c a n n e v e r be r e p e a t e d .

Their claims

jurisdiction

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See U.S.

1.

Necessarily, Plaintiffs do n o t

but evading

the a c t u a l Plaintiffs'

the the a be

qualifications

of e l e c t o r a l

c a n d i d a t e s from

questioning

difference. forced to in by

To look order

accommodate P l a i n t i f f s , back to at see of the results of

this

last

election harmed ballot. does does

whether

their

the

presence to

specific

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that would a the to by

candidates "this

Contrary

their

assertions

not seek t o q u e s t i o n the l e g a l i t y of the e l e c t i o n , i t impact the 'conduct' o f the e l e c t i o n , o f an e l e c t i o n , " at this nor

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stage the votes of certificate of the remained has that "the of are 10 nominated

contest on

the r e s u l t s

B l . B r . a t 36,

Plaintiffs'

claims

be did

impossible not

to

invalidate a birth the

TH

involve

the e v a l u a t i o n of the e l e c t i o n ' s

results.

produce and have

State

OF

conduct

election unaltered.

unchanged, B.

e v e n i f t h e end r e s u l t

ND

The

Secretary

no l e g a l duty to i n v e s t i g a t e

or v e r i f y the

c r e d e n t i a l s of candidates p r i o r

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to p l a c i n g them on the b a l l o t . Code states Secretary of State

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The

Alabama

shall

certify...the President

names who

a l l candidates f o r any

and

Vice

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Court interests on candidate Secretary

c o n d u c t o f an e l e c t i o n ,

theirs

i s a d i s t i n c t i o n without would

November's were the

lawsuit nor

does i t ruling

inherently I t would who of

remain

President national

convention." is required the

Ala.

Code 17-14-31(a)

(emphasis added). c a n d i d a t e s who party. duty As a

She have

secured of the set

endorsement of law, the of

a political has no

Alabama

Secretary

qualifications of

candidates she is

except

i n a very for

circumstances:

responsible has

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her has Ala. does not her that of a that Opinion

certify an

a candidate only source by law,

when she

knowledge g a i n e d duties not met

official

while that a

performing candidate

prescribed certifying Op. No.

EF OG

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to refusing Att'y on require where of will as cites

to c e r t i f y a l l P r e s i d e n t i a l

matter

investigate specific to from as a Gen. the the meets

qualification. 1998-200. An that to

See

generally General

Attorney

Opinion

Secretary all Id. the at

of

State

TH
for

subject

elaborates

"[t]he

Code

determine whether his or

e a c h nominee particular

qualifications 3. It

office." the

OF
does,

however,

indicate

Secretary deficiency prescribed considered

possesses

"official from the

knowledge" the of

candidate's duties be an

"arising law,"

performance

EN D
by

source source."

knowledge

an

"official from the has

The

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example a n o t i c e that a candidate of

E t h i c s Committee t o the file a statutorily

Secretary required

f a i l e d to interests.

statement

economic

Id.

Although P l a i n t i f f s

11

identify Obama's

some

groups

that on

have

investigated own

President the not

conclusions "official," government insufficient an o f f i c i a l

drawn

from

those

investigations

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to constitute source. as s t a t e d

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knowledge to the tended i s best the that

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background

check

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The p r e s i d e n t i a l n o m i n a t i n g p r o c e s s i s n o t s u b j e c t t o e a c h o f t h e 50 s t a t e s ' e l e c t i o n o f f i c i a l s i n d e p e n d e n t l y d e c i d i n g w h e t h e r a p r e s i d e n t i a l nominee i s q u a l i f i e d , as t h i s c o u l d l e a d t o c h a o t i c r e s u l t s . Were t h e c o u r t s of 50 states at liberty to issue injunctions r e s t r i c t i n g c e r t i f i c a t i o n of d u l y - e l e c t e d presidential e l e c t o r s , t h e r e s u l t c o u l d be c o n f l i c t i n g r u l i n g s and d e l a y e d t r a n s i t i o n o f power i n d e r o g a t i o n o f statutory and c o n s t i t u t i o n a l d e a d l i n e s . Keyes, to the 117 Cal. the of

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some v o t e r s ,

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This

candidates

entity

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authority in the drops

had

making

their

alteration

impossible,

and

the

claims

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Plaintiffs By the

filed time

their they been

claims too late filed their

complaint, absentee Whether process Roper the J.,

ballots voters,

had a l r e a d y rendering

printed

their

alteration

construed ( s e e Wood

as an u n t i m e l y v. B o o t h ,

contest

990 So. 2d 314 (Ala. 2008)),

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but

of the nominating (Ala. or 2008), through

V. Rhodes,

988 So. 2d 471 (see Roper, the

lens of laches dissenting in

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reasoning claim

result)),

the P l a i n t i f f s '

was

time-barred

moment i t was f i l e d .

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CONCLUSION t h i s Court should a f f i r m the claims.

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and s e n t

time-barred.

i nthe

initial to

impossible.

(Murdock, i n the from t h e

R e s p e c t f u l l y submitted,

Andrew L. B r a s h e r Deputy S o l i c i t o r General Is/ L a u r a E. H o w e l l Assistant Attorney

James W. D a v i s L a u r a E. H o w e l l Assistant Attorneys General S t a t e o f Alabama O f f i c e of the A t t o r n e y General 501 W a s h i n g t o n Ave. Montgomery, AL 36130 (334) 242-7300 abrasher@ago.state.al.us j imdavis@ago.state.al.us IhowelKjago.state.al.us

A t t o r n e y s f o r S e c r e t a r y o f S t a t e B e t h Chapman

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General

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Luther Strange Attorney General

CERTIFICATE OF I 2013, filed Courts of such hereby certify that

SERVICE on t h e 23rci

a copy with

o f t h e above the Clerk System of

and f o r e g o i n g the Court

document h a s b e e n the Appellate

using

filing

to a l l parties

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of record,

e-Filing

(ACES) w h i c h

will

send

has been

where n o t e d , and m a i l e d v i a U.S. M a i l where n o t e d .

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OF

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L. Dean J o h n s o n 4030 B a l m o r a l D r . , S t e . B H u n t s v i l l e , AL 35801 Johnson dean@bellsouth.net

L a r r y Klayman Klayman Law F i r m 2020 P e n n s y l v a n i a A v e . N.W. S t e . 800 W a s h i n g t o n , D.C. 20006 leklayman@gmail.com

/ s / L a u r a E. H o w e l l OF COUNSEL

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day o f A p r i l ,

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