United States District Court, D. Nevada
THE PEOPLE'S LEGISLATURE, a Nevada political action committee; and CITIZEN OUTREACH, INC., a Virginia non-profit corporation, Plaintiffs,
BARBARA CEGAVSKE, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of Nevada; and THE NEVADA LEGISLATURE, Defendants.
MIRANDA M. DU, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case concerns whether Nevada's ballot initiative is
constitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of
the United States Constitution. Before the Court is
Plaintiffs' Belated Motion for Leave to Add Bob Beers and
Charles Muth as Plaintiffs Pursuant to Rule 20
(“Plaintiffs' Motion”). (ECF No. 75.)
Defendants filed a response and motion to dismiss for lack of
standing and a motion to stay the dispositive motion deadline
(“Defendants' Motion”). (ECF No. 76.)
Plaintiffs filed a response to Defendants' Motion (ECF
No. 82) and a reply in support of their Motion (ECF No. 83).
Defendants then filed a reply in support of their Motion.
(ECF No. 84.)
reasons discussed below, the Court denies Plaintiffs'
Motion and grants Defendants' Motion. Defendants'
Motion to Stay is denied as moot.
original complaint in this case was filed on January 18,
2012, in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County,
Nevada. (ECF No. 1-1.) Ross Miller, then the Secretary of
State of Nevada, removed this action on February 21, 2012.
(ECF No. 1.) The Nevada Legislature became an
intervenor-defendant in this case upon the Court's order of
August 15, 2012. (ECF No. 53.) This case was stayed by
stipulation on October 18, 2012. (ECF No. 56.) The stay was
not lifted until three years later, on November 12, 2015, at
which point the Court directed the parties to file a proposed
amended joint discovery plan and scheduling order. (ECF No.
67.) The discovery deadline was then set for September 15,
2016, and the dispositive motions deadline was set for
October 14, 2016. (ECF No. 72.) On September 26, 2016,
Defendant Barbara Cegavske, the current Secretary of State of
Nevada, filed a motion to extend the dispositive motions
deadline. (ECF No. 73.) The Court granted this motion on
October 5, 2016, and set the new deadline for filing
dispositive motions for November 16, 2016. (ECF No. 74.)
their Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”),
Plaintiffs The People's Legislature
(“People”) and Citizen Outreach
(“Citizen”) challenge the process by which
citizens draft, file, and circulate ballot initiative
petitions under Nevada law. (ECF No. 41 at 1.) More
specifically, Plaintiffs challenge the single-subject
restriction and 200-word description-of-effect requirement
established at NRS § 295.009, as well as the unlimited
private Attorney General enforcement provision and the
mandatory venue for litigation set forth in NRS §
295.061. (Id.) Plaintiffs also challenge
NRS § 295.015, which they contend “provides that
if the Court changes one word [in the description-of-effect]
all signatures previously gathered are void.”
(Id. at 1-2.)
asserts one claim for relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, contending that NRS §§ 295.009, 295.115, and
295.061 are unconstitutional, both facially and as applied,
under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United
States Constitution.(Id. at 20-22.) They ask this
Court to: (1) declare that these three statutory provisions
are unconstitutional as applied and used together or, in the
alternative, (2) strike one or more of the statutory
provisions as an unreasonable burden on free speech; and (3)
enter a preliminary and permanent injunction against
Defendant Ross Miller, his successors and assigns, and all
persons acting in concert with Defendant from enforcing these
three statutory provisions or from removing any future
proposed initiative on the basis of NRS §§ 295.009
and 295.061. (Id. at 23.)
Pest Committee v. Miller, the Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals found NRS §§ 295.009 and 295.061 to be
facially constitutional under the First Amendment. See
Pest Comm. v. Miller, 626 F.3d 1097, 1103 (9th Cir.
2010). More specifically, the court affirmed the district
court's holding that, “Nevada's statutory
single-subject, description-of-effect, and pre-election
challenge provisions do not impose a severe burden on First
Amendment rights, are permissible regulations of the
state's electoral process, and are not unconstitutionally
vague.” Id. at 1099. The court also found that
the two statutory provisions were not overly broad, finding
that the “single-subject or description-of-effect
provisions [do] not establish that individuals or courts are
unable to discern what is required or that the provisions are
so standardless that [they] authorize[ ] or encourage[ ]
seriously discriminatory enforcement, ” id. at
1111 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted), nor
“do [they] have the effect of thwarting all attempts to
place initiatives and referenda before the voters, ”
id. at 1113. In other words, the court found that
the two statutory provisions did not have a chilling effect,
as the plaintiffs in the case had claimed. See id.
at 1102, 1112-13.
Defendants' Motion raises the threshold issue of
standing, the Court will address ...