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COUSINS ET AL. v. WIGODA

decided: July 1, 1972.

COUSINS ET AL
v.
WIGODA



ON APPLICATION FOR STAY.

Author: Rehnquist

[ 409 U.S. Page 1201]

MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, Circuit Justice.

Applicants have applied to me as Circuit Justice to stay an order entered by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Thursday, June 29, 1972. A divided panel of that court vacated an injunction issued at applicants' behest by the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and further ordered that its mandate issue immediately. Because applicants' application raised what seemed to me to be significant legal issues of importance not only to them but to the public as a whole, I heard oral argument of counsel on the application.

 In April 1972, following the Illinois primary election, respondent Wigoda brought an action in the circuit court of Cook County, Illinois, requesting a declaratory judgment that he and others had been duly elected as delegates to the Democratic National Convention in accordance with Illinois law, and seeking an injunction against applicants to prohibit them from interfering with or impeding the functioning of respondent as a duly elected delegate.

[ 409 U.S. Page 1202]

     Applicants removed this action to the United States District Court, from which it was then remanded to the state court. Applicants then brought a separate action in the District Court, alleging that the pendency of the state court action infringed their associational rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In reliance on 42 U. S. C. § 1983, they sought an injunction against further prosecution of the state court action. The District Court heard evidence and enjoined the prosecution of so much of the state court action as sought injunctive relief against the applicants, leaving the state court free to proceed with the declaratory judgment aspect of respondent's action. Respondent appealed from the order of the District Court granting injunctive relief, and the Court of Appeals then entered the order described above vacating the injunction of the District Court.

Both the state and federal court actions arise out of disputes between the parties as to what group of delegates from Illinois shall be seated at the Democratic National Convention to be held in Miami Beach, Florida, beginning July 10. Respondent contends that he and the others whom he seeks to represent were delegates elected to the convention in accordance with Illinois law at the Illinois primary election. Applicants contend that the Illinois delegate selection process does not conform to standards established by the national Democratic Party, and that, therefore, they and others associated with them, rather than respondent, should be seated by the Democratic National Convention.

Since the Court of Appeals entered its order of June 29, two additional events have supervened. On June 30, the circuit court of Cook County in which respondent's original action was pending entered a temporary restraining order enjoining applicants from "submitting or causing to be submitted to the National Democratic Party, the

[ 409 U.S. Page 1203]

     Democratic National Committee or the Credentials Committee thereof, the name, or names, of any person, or persons, as prospective delegates to the 1972 Democratic National Convention" from various Illinois districts. That order also provided that "except as herein before ordered" nothing in the order should prevent the applicants from "speaking on behalf of their challenge before the Credentials Committee, holding meetings or engaging in other activities commensurate with their rights of free speech and association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution." The circuit court further ordered that the matter be set for hearing on the motion of respondent for a preliminary injunction at 11 a. m. on Wednesday, July 5, in that court.

On June 30, the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention voted to sustain the challenge made by applicants and others to respondent and the delegates associated with him, and to recommend to the convention that applicants and other delegates associated with them be seated by the Democratic National Convention. It is my understanding that this action on the part of the Credentials Committee is subject to review by the convention at its meeting in Miami Beach.

At the outset I am faced with a problem which, if not technically one of authority, is at the very least one of the scope of my discretion in acting on the application. The authority of a Circuit Justice to grant a stay in cases such as this stems from the provisions of 28 U. S. C. § 2101 (f), which reads in pertinent part as follows:

"In any case in which the final judgment or decree of any court is subject to review by the Supreme Court on writ of certiorari, the execution and enforcement of such judgment or decree may be stayed for a reasonable time to enable the party ...


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