With the Texas appellate websites still down, I wanted to provide a blog post that collects in one place all the filings in the case being argued today in the Texas Supreme Court about mail-in voting, and, specifically, what flexibility the statute permits county officials in determining “disability” in light of the coronavirus.
There are two currently pending cases in the Texas Supreme Court on this topic, only one of which is (technically) set for argument today.1 Today’s case is docket 20-0394, which is the Attorney General’s request for a writ of mandamus from the Texas Supreme Court directly compelling various county officials to act.
These briefs are arranged in the spirit of “You can’t tell the players without a program.”
The party seeking relief in the Mandamus Petition is “The State of Texas,” being represented by the Attorney General.
The AG also filed a short letter about the federal case in which an injunction was issued yesterday.
Real parties in interest
The AG brings this action against five county officials, each of whom has filed a response to the mandamus petition:
- Response Brief of Dana DeBeauvoir, in her official capacity as Travis County Clerk
- Response Brief of Remi Garza, in his official capacity as Cameron County Elections Administrator
Response Brief of Toni Pippins-Poole, in her official capacity as Dallas County Elections Administrator
Response Brief of Diane Trautman, in her official capacity as Harris County Clerk
Response Brief of Lisa Wise, in her official capacity as El Paso County Elections Administrator
Two sets of groups have sought to “intervene” in the case. (Normally, this type of intervention might happen in a district court, but the AG brought this action in a way that bypassed the district court.)
- Motion to Intervene by the Texas Democratic Party
The proposed intervenors also filed this joint mandamus response brief addressing the merits of the case.
The State filed a brief opposing these interventions. The Court has stated that it will treat these filings as being amicus curiae submissions rather than a formal intervention.
Various groups and individuals have filed amicus briefs in this case. They include (as of the time of this blog post):
- Texas Public Policy Foundation (May 13)
An emailed amicus submission from a citizen in Houston (May 14)
Honest Elections Project (May 15)
McCaffity for Congress (May 15)
A group of Medical Doctors (May 19)
A group of Healthcare Professionals and Institutions (May 19)
A group including the National Medical Association
Argument day itself
The official submission schedule indicates that the State’s side will be argued by the Solicitor General, Kyle Hawkins.
The county officials will be represented by three attorneys. It appears from the submission forms that the lead role will be taken by Scott Brister, who is representing Harris County. He has also submitted a set of bench exhibits for the Court’s reference during the argument.
Travis County will be represented at argument by Sherine E. Thompson. Dallas County will be represented by Barbara S. Nichols.
- The related case, not technically being argued today, is docket 20-0401, which challenges a district court’s entry of a temporary injunction against the Attorney General. The Court has granted a stay in that case and has just requested a response, which is not due until Thursday (one day after this argument). ↩