Parrott et al v. Lamone et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge George Levi Russell, III on 8/24/2016. (jnls, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
NEIL PARROTT, et al.,
LINDA H. LAMONE, et al.,
Civil Action No. GLR-15-1849
Robert D. Popper, Chris Fedeli, and Lauren M Burke, JUDICIAL
WATCH, INC., Washington, D.C., for Plaintiffs.
Julia Doyle Bernhardt and Jeffrey Lewis Darsie, OFFICE OF THE
August 24, 2016
Before Niemeyer, Circuit Judge, and Bredar and Russell, District
OPINION OF THE THREE-JUDGE COURT
Judge Russell wrote the opinion in which the Court concluded it
does not have subject-matter jurisdiction over this action
because Plaintiffs do not have standing to pursue their claims.
RUSSELL, District Judge:
Maryland’s 2011 congressional redistricting law under Article I,
§ 2 of the United States Constitution and the Due Process Clause
of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Pending before the Court
Voters consist of one voter from each of Maryland’s eight
congressional districts. They include: Neil Parrott, Ann Marvin,
Lucille Stefanski, Eric Knowles, Faith Loudon, Matt Morgan, Ellen
Sauerbrey, and Kerinne August.
is Defendants’, Linda H. Lamone, in her official capacity as the
State Administrator of Elections, and David J. McManus, Jr., in
his official capacity as Chairman of the Maryland State Board of
Elections (collectively, the “State”), Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
outlined below, the Court will grant the Motion.
In October 2011, following the 2010 decennial census, the
Maryland General Assembly enacted a congressional redistricting
plan (the “Plan”), establishing the districts to be used for the
election of Maryland’s eight representatives in the United States
House of Representatives.
et seq. (West 2016).
See Md.Code Ann., Elec. Law §§ 8–701
Following its enactment, the Plan has been
subject to numerous challenges.2
On June 24, 2015, Voters brought
the instant challenge, arguing the Plan is an unconstitutional
See, e.g., Benisek v. Mack, 11 F.Supp.3d 516 (D.Md.),
aff’d, 584 F.App’x 140 (4th Cir. 2014), cert. granted sub nom.
Shapiro v. Mack, 135 S.Ct. 2805 (2015), and rev’d and remanded
sub nom. Shapiro v. McManus, 136 S.Ct. 450 (2015); Olson v.
O’Malley, No. WDQ-12-0240, 2012 WL 764421 (D.Md. Mar. 6, 2012);
Gorrell v. O’Malley, No. WDQ-11-2975, 2012 WL 226919 (D.Md. Jan.
19, 2012); Fletcher v. Lamone, 831 F.Supp.2d 887 (D.Md. 2011),
aff’d, 133 S.Ct. 29 (2012).
“The term ‘political gerrymander’ has been defined as ‘the
districts, often of highly irregular shape, to give one political
party an unfair advantage by diluting the opposition's voting
representatives from the people -- all Maryland voters -- to the
Maryland General Assembly.
(ECF No. 1).
On July 20, 2015, the State filed a Motion to Dismiss under
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(c), 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(6).
(ECF No. 7).
Voters submitted an Opposition on September 21,
2015 (ECF No. 13), and the State filed a Reply on October 21,
2015 (ECF No. 17).
In accordance with Shapiro v. McManus, 136
S.Ct. 450 (2015) and 28 U.S.C. § 2284 (2012), the Chief Judge of
designated a three-judge court to hear the State’s Motion to
(ECF Nos. 21, 22).
hearing on July 12, 2016.
The three-judge court conducted a
(ECF No. 29).
The State advances two principal arguments for why the Court
because they allege a generalized grievance on behalf of all
Second, Voters fail to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted because their claims are not justiciable.
The Court begins by reviewing the threshold issue of standing.
Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267, 271 n.1 (2004)
(quoting Black’s Law Dictionary 696 (7th ed. 1999)).
Motions to dismiss for lack of standing are governed by Rule
12(b)(1), which pertains to subject matter jurisdiction.
CGM, LLC v. BellSouth Telecomm’s, Inc., 664 F.3d 46, 52 (4th Cir.
A defendant challenging a complaint under Rule 12(b)(1)
may advance a “facial challenge, asserting that the allegations
in the complaint are insufficient to establish subject matter
Hasley v. Ward Mfg., LLC, No. RDB-13-1607, 2014 WL 3368050, at *1
(D.Md. July 8, 2014) (alteration in original) (quoting Kerns v.
United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009)).
Here, because the State raises a facial challenge, the
Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192 (quoting Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213,
1219 (4th Cir. 1982)).
As such, the Court will take the facts in
Voters’ Complaint as true and deny the State’s Rule 12(b)(1)
Motion to Dismiss if the Complaint alleges sufficient facts to
invoke subject matter jurisdiction.
Article III of the United States Constitution limits the
U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1; Spokeo, Inc.
Thus, the threshold question in every federal case is
whether the court has authority under Article III to entertain
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975).
apply the standing doctrine to resolve this question.
Bartlett, 575 F.3d 419, 423 (4th Cir. 2009).
The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of
Id. at 424 (citing FW/PBS, Inc. v. City
of Dallas, 493 U.S. 215, 231 (1990)).
“At the pleading stage,
defendant’s conduct may suffice, for on a motion to dismiss [a
court] presume[s] that general allegations embrace those specific
facts that are necessary to support the claim.”
Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992)).
jurisdiction does not include the necessary allegations in the
Id. (citing McNutt v. Gen. Motors Acceptance Corp.,
298 U.S. 178, 189 (1936)).
Id. at 423 (citing Allen v. Wright, 468
U.S. 737, 751 (1984)).
To satisfy the constitutional component,
a party must have suffered an injury in fact
that is fairly
traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant and likely
to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.
S.Ct. at 1547 (citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560–61).
injury in fact, a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered ‘an
invasion of a legally protected interest’ that is ‘concrete and
Id. at 1548 (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560).
“particularized” injury is an injury that affects the plaintiff
“in a personal and individual way.”
at 560 n.1).
A “concrete” injury is one that is not abstract and
To be concrete for purposes of standing,
an injury need not be tangible.
Id. (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S.
Id. at 1549.
generally recognize three circumstances under which a party does
not have standing: (1) when the party asserts a harm that “is a
‘generalized grievance’ shared in substantially equal measure by
(quoting Warth, 422 U.S. at 499); (2) when the party “rest[s] his
parties,” id. (quoting Warth, 422 U.S. at 499); and (3) when the
party’s grievance does not “arguably fall within the zone of
interests protected or regulated by the statutory provision or
Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154, 162 (1997)).
That an injury is widely shared does not necessarily mean
that the injury is a “generalized grievance” precluding standing.
A widely shared injury can be an injury in fact, but only if the
injury is concrete.
Id. at 424–25 (quoting FEC v. Akins, 524
U.S. 11, 24 (1998)).
The deprivation of the right to vote is a
injuries that do not confer standing include injuries
“common concern for obedience to the law,” Akins, 524 U.S. at 23
(quoting L. Singer & Sons v. Union Pac. R. Co., 311 U.S. 295, 303
administration of the law,” id. at 24 (quoting Perkins v. Lukens
Steel Co., 310 U.S. 113, 125 (1940)).
Throughout their Complaint, Voters consistently allege they
Compl. ¶ 31, ECF No. 1) (alleging Voters “are suing as Maryland
voters for injuries . . . that all Maryland voters endure because
Maryland voters, regardless of their party preferences or how
(“Maryland’s gerrymander inflicts particular, intentional harm on
Voters, however, do not allege that the Plan has deprived all
Maryland voters because it mechanically manipulates Maryland’s
congressional districts in a manner that transfers the power to
select representatives from the people to the Maryland General
deprivation of the right to vote, the Court concludes that at
To sufficiently allege standing, however, Voters must assert
more than a concrete and particularized injury -- they must also
allege “an invasion of a legally protected interest.”
136 S.Ct. at 1548 (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560).
not cite any cases, and the Court’s exhaustive search reveals
protects the right to reside in a district that has not been
representatives away from the people.
Nevertheless, they rely on Baker v. Carr,
369 U.S. 186 (1962), Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 1 (1964), and
Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U.S. 533 (1964) (the “One Person, One Vote
Cases”), arguing they stand for more than the proposition that
Voters assert that “properly understood, [the One
Person, One Vote Cases] stand for the principle that legislators
and their agents may not manipulate districts to arrogate to
themselves the power reserved to the people of choosing their
(Pls.’ Opp’n Mot. Dismiss [“Opp’n”] at 12, ECF No.
understood as a set of practical constitutional limitations on
notwithstanding the wishes of voters.”
(Opp’n at 15).
districts raise justiciable claims.
369 U.S. at 206, 237.
years later, in Wesberry, the Court applied Baker to strike down
districts comprising vastly disparate populations.
376 U.S. at
The Court held that the constitutional requirement that
representatives be chosen “by the People of the several States,”
U.S. Const. art. I, § 2, “means that as nearly as is practicable
one man’s vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much
Wesberry, 376 U.S. at 7–8.
The Court explained
representation for equal numbers of people the fundamental goal
for the House of Representatives.”
That same year, in
Id. at 18.
Reynolds, the Court applied
malapportioned House and Senate districts.
See Reynolds, 377
constitutional requisite both houses of a state legislature must
be apportioned on a population basis,” meaning that states must
“make an honest and good faith effort to construct districts, in
both houses of its legislature, as nearly of equal population as
The plaintiffs’ claims in the One Person, One Vote Cases all
centered on the population disparities in legislative districts.
Reynolds, 377 U.S. at 540.
That fact alone militates against
protects the right to reside in districts that have not been
What is more, nothing in the language
of the One Person, One Vote Cases suggests that the Court should
apply those cases to claims not asserting unequal population.
such, the Court rejects Voters’ reading of the One Person, One
Vote Cases, finding it untenable.
In sum, Voters fail to identify a constitutional provision
or case that establishes a right to reside in a district that has
not been mechanically manipulated in a manner that transfers the
power to elect representatives away from the people.
Accordingly, the Court will grant the State’s Motion to Dismiss
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
For the foregoing reasons, the State’s Motion to Dismiss
DISMISSED, and the Court will direct the Clerk to CLOSE this
A separate Order follows.
Entered this 24th day of August, 2016
George L. Russell, III
United States District Judge
Because the Court concludes that Voters
standing, the Court need not determine whether
claims upon which relief may be granted.
do not have
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