Last evening, District of Columbia federal district court Judge Richard Leon issued an order denying the request by the various left-wing organizations to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) barring the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from instructing residents of Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas that they must comply with state laws requiring proof-of-citizenship when they register to vote. Judge Leon issued this ruling even though the Justice Department, representing the EAC (or purporting to), consented to the proposed order. I wrote about the case, and the DOJ’s “dive,” here.
Hans von Spakovsky reports on the decision:
Judge Leon said in a four-page order that because “the registration deadlines for the Alabama and Georgia primaries and for the Kansas Republican Caucus had already passed at the time this TRO motion was filed . . . and that the effects of the [EAC’s] actions on the ongoing registration process for the Kansas Democratic Caucus . . . are uncertain at best, plaintiffs have not demonstrated they will suffer irreparable harm” before the scheduled March 9 hearing on the request for a Preliminary Injunction.
Judge Leon was also “not yet convinced that plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits and looks forward to the benefit of full, adversarial briefing on the complex and important issues this case presents.”
The decision reflects the standard judges are to consider when deciding whether to grant a TRO: “irreparable harm” to the party seeking the order and “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” by that party. As Judge Leon suggests, the possibility remains that he will grant relief to the leftist groups at or following the March 9 hearing on their request for a preliminary injunction.
Keep in mind, however, that the Justice Department, which is supposed to defend the EAC, tanked the case by consenting to the plaintiffs’ request. As von Spakovsky points out, “for a judge to refuse to accept a consent agreement of the lawyers in a case who are representing the plaintiffs and supposedly representing the defendants is almost unprecedented.”
Von Spakovsky also points to a footnote in which Judge Leon castigates the Department of Justice’s behavior in the litigation:
The Court provided defendants ample opportunity to submit a written opposition to plaintiffs’ Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. . .Defendant’s counsel, the Department of Justice’s Federal Programs Branch, took the time but upon the deadline submitted a short brief taking the extraordinary step of consenting to plaintiffs’ request — not for a TRO but for a preliminary injunction!
(Emphasis in original)
The Obama-Lynch DOJ’s shenanigans in this case, as in others around the country, are not playing well in court.