Election Law

We regularly advise political campaigns, political action committees, and issue advocacy organizations on compliance with and challenges to federal election laws. As principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Mr. Cooper had supervisory responsibility over voting rights litigation conducted during the first term of the Reagan Administration. In private practice, Mr. Cooper has continued to litigate numerous voting rights cases arising both under the Voting Rights Act and the Constitution. Mr. Cooper served as the National Co-Chair of Lawyers for Bush and was one of the architects of the campaign’s post-election litigation strategy.  Cases that we have litigated in this area include:

  • Johnson v. Governor of Florida, 405 F.3d 1214 (11th Cir. 2005).  
    We represented Governor Jeb Bush and the other members of Florida’s clemency board in their defense of Florida’s felon disenfranchisement laws against a class action filed on behalf of 400,000 convicted felons. The plaintiffs brought suit under the Fourteenth Amendment and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. The district court granted our motion for summary judgment. After an adverse ruling from a dividend panel, the Eleventh Circuit sitting en banc affirmed the dismissal of the suit.
  • Rossello-Gonzalez v. Calderon-Serra, 398 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2004).  
    We successfully represented the Governor-Elect of Puerto Rico in a recount dispute in connection with the 2004 elections. The opposing candidate for governor challenged the validity of several thousand ballots. Although the district court ruled in favor of the opposition candidate after trial proceedings, the First Circuit reversed and ruled in favor of our client who served as the Commonwealth’s governor.
  • McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, 540 U.S. 93 (2003). 
    We represented the National Rifle Association in its challenge to the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The statute prohibits corporations from airing television and radio advertisements mentioning a federal candidate in the 60 days prior to an election. Our suit sought to invalidate this prohibition on First Amendment grounds. In a 5-4 decision, the Court upheld the statute.  But our arguments were later accepted by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. FEC.
  • Federal Election Commission v. NRA Political Victory Fund, 513 U.S. 88 (1994).  
    We represented the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund in an action brought by the FEC alleging violation of campaign contribution regulations. We successfully argued that the composition of the FEC violated the separation of powers. More recently, we represented the NRA in its challenge to the FEC’s role in implementing the McCain-Feingold legislation.
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