United States Sixth Circuit

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Nader v. Blackwell, 07-4350

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit brought by Ralph Nader against Ohio's former Secretary of State for violating his First Amendment rights in applying a state law, which required that petition circulators reside and be registered to vote in Ohio, to Nader's nominating petitions, dismissal of the suit is affirmed where: 1) contrary to the ruling below, Nader had standing to bring the suit; 2) the voter-registration restriction and the residency restriction contained in Ohio Rev. Code section 3505.06 are both unconstitutional in violation of the First Amendment; but 3) because the violations were not clearly established in 2004, the Secretary was entitled to qualified immunity. Petition circulation activity constitutes core political speech, and any regulation of that speech is subject to exacting scrutiny.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 10/29/2008
  • Published 10/29/2008

Judges

  • Before: BOGGS, Chief Judge;  and MOORE and CLAY, Circuit Judges.

Court

  • United States Sixth Circuit

Counsel

  • For Appellees:
  • ARGUED:  Mark R. Brown, Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.  Pearl M. Chin, Office of the Ohio Attorney General, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee.   ON BRIEF:  Mark R. Brown, Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.  Richard N. Coglianese, Daniel C. Roth, Office of the Ohio Attorney General, Columbus, Ohio, for Appellee.