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Libertarian Party of South Dakota v. Krebs

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

January 26, 2016

LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF SOUTH DAKOTA; KEN SANTEMA, State Chair of the Libertarian Party of South Dakota; BOB NEWLAND; CONSTITUTION PARTY OF SOUTH DAKOTA; LORI STACEY, State Chair of the Constitution Party of South Dakota; and JOY HOWE, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHANTEL KREBS, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of the State of South Dakota; and MARTY J. JACKLEY, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of South Dakota;, Defendants

          For Libertarian Party of South Dakota, Ken Santema, State Chair of the Libertarian Party of South Dakota, Bob Newland, Constitution Party of South Dakota, Lori Stacey, State Chair of the Constitution Party of South Dakota, Joy Howe, Plaintiffs: Brendan V. Johnson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Robins Kaplan LLP, Sioux Falls, SD; Stephen L. Pevar, LEAD ATTORNEY, ACLU Foundation (Hartford, CT), Hartford, CT; M. Laughlin McDonald, PRO HAC VICE, ACLU (Atlanta, GA), Atlanta, GA.

         For Shantel Krebs, in her official capacity as Secretary of State of the State of South Dakota, Marty J. Jackley, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the State of South Dakota, Defendants: Ellie J. Bailey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney General of South Dakota, Pierre, SD.

Page 524

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE

         KAREN E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiffs, the Libertarian Party of South Dakota, Ken Santema, Bob Newland, the Constitution Party of South Dakota, Lori Stacey, and Joy Howe, bring suit against defendants, Shantel Krebs and Marty J. Jackley. Plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of Senate Bill 69, which amends the date new political parties must file their written declaration to appear on the general election ballot. Defendants move to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint or, in the alternative, transfer venue to the District Court of South Dakota, Central Division. Plaintiffs move to amend their complaint to include a challenge to the current version of SDCL 12-5-1. This court grants in part and denies in part both motions.

         BACKGROUND

         The facts as alleged by plaintiffs are as follows:

         A new political party, if it complies with SDCL 12-5-1, may participate in the South Dakota primary election. The new party must submit " a written declaration signed by at least two and one-half percent of the voters of the state . . ." by " the last Tuesday of March at five p.m." SDCL 12-5-1. In 2015, the South Dakota legislature passed SB 69, which changes the filing deadline in SDCL 12-5-1 from the " last Tuesday of March" to the " first Tuesday of March." Governor Dennis Daugaard signed SB 69 into law on March 20, 2015.

         Generally, laws passed during the regular legislative session take effect the subsequent July first; [1] however, the people of South Dakota

Page 525

reserve the right to challenge recently passed legislation by filing a petition with the Secretary of State's office for a statewide voter referendum. SDCL 2-1-3. If the petition is successful, the legislation will not go into effect unless a majority of voters approve. In this litigation, plaintiffs filed their complaint before a valid referendum petition for SB 69 was filed. SB 69 is scheduled to appear on the 2016 general election ballot as " Referred Law 19."

         Defendants move to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, in the alternative, transfer venue to the District Court of South Dakota, Central Division. Because plaintiffs' complaint challenges only SB 69, plaintiffs move to amend their complaint--adding a challenge to SDCL 12-5-1.

         I. Motion to Amend Complaint[2]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Motions to amend are freely granted when justice so requires. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals takes a " liberal viewpoint towards leave to amend" and leave " should normally be granted absent good reason for a denial." Popp Telcom v. Am. Sharecom, Inc., 210 F.3d 928, 943 (8th Cir. 2000). Leave to amend is denied only if evidence exists such as " undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, [or] futility of the amendment." Roberson v. Hayti Police Dep't, 241 F.3d 992, 995 (8th Cir. 2001) (citing Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 9 L.Ed.2d 222 (1962)). An amendment is futile if " the amended complaint could not withstand a motion to dismiss under Rule ...


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