CLC Attorney to Argue Case Before Tenth Circuit Concerning Albuquerque’s Attempt to Fine Litigants and Lawyers for Seeking to Vindicate Voting Rights


Later today in Baca v. Berry, Campaign Legal Center attorneys, along with attorneys at Jenner & Block, will present oral argument in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado.  The City of Albuquerque is seeking to obtain financial sanctions against four of its own citizens and their former counsel for filing a voting rights lawsuit.  Legal Center attorney Gerry Hebert and CLC Legal Fellow Josh Bone represent the individual voters, while Jenner & Block attorneys represent the voters’ former counsel. Mr. Bone will present the oral argument for the individual voters and Mr. Mark Gaber of Jenner & Block will present the argument for the sanctioned attorneys.

The case started when four Albuquerque voters brought claims challenging the city council’s post-2010 redistricting plan.  After the lawsuit was filed, electoral changes were adopted in the City that prompted the plaintiffs to move to dismiss their case without prejudice.  The City moved to dismiss the case with prejudice.   The district judge held both motions in abeyance for several months and then granted the City’s motion to dismiss with prejudice.  The City then successfully obtained an order from the district judge sanctioning the voters’ attorneys in the amount of $48,217.95 for pursuing a frivolous case.  The trial court, however, refused to grant the City’s motion to financially sanction the four individual citizens.  The individual plaintiffs’ counsel appealed the sanctions order and the City has appealed the order declining to sanction the individual voters who filed the suit.   

The law firm of Jenner & Block was recruited to work on this case by the Voting Rights Institute, a joint program launched earlier this year by the Campaign Legal Center and the American Constitution Society.

To read the brief filed in the court of appeals earlier this year by CLC and Jenner & Block, click here.

Arguments before Judge Hartz, Judge Tymkovich and Judge Phillips are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. in Courtroom I at the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit at 1823 Stout Street in Denver.  Baca v. Berry is the last argument scheduled and is expected to be completed by noon local time.