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Supreme Court Won’t Consider Alabama Ballot-Access Rule Challenge

Oct. 7, 2019, 1:43 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court declined Oct. 7 to consider whether a candidate may continue to challenge Alabama’s ballot-access rule after the election he tried to run in has passed.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held in August 2018 that a candidate must not only allege he will run again but must also show that his future candidacy would have a substantial chance of success to avoid mootness.

The ruling deepened the circuit split on the question, James Hall argued in his petition for review. Hall sought to run as independent in a special election but failed to get the required number of petition signatures in time to make the ballot under Alabama’s special election rules.

The Eleventh Circuit acknowledged that its holding makes any individual plaintiff’s challenge to the statute effectively immune from judicial review, but suggested the plaintiff could avoid mootness by filing the suit as a class action.

David I. Schoen of Montgomery, Ala., and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic represented Hall.

The case is Hall v. Merrill, U.S., No. 18-1362, review denied 10/7/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bloomberglaw.com