Jacobson v. Florida Secretary of State, No. 19-14552 (11th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
At issue in this appeal is whether several voters and organizations have standing to challenge a law that governs the order in which candidates appear on the ballot in Florida's general elections. The voters and organizations alleged that the law violates their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments because candidates who appear first on the ballot—in recent years, Republicans—enjoy a "windfall vote" from a small number of voters who select the first candidate on a ballot solely because of that candidate's position of primacy. The district court permanently enjoined the Secretary from preparing ballots in accordance with the law.
The Eleventh Circuit vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of justiciability, holding that the voters and organizations lack standing to sue the Secretary, because none of them proved an injury in fact. Furthermore, any injury they might suffer is neither fairly traceable to the Secretary nor redressable by a judgment against her because she does not enforce the challenged law. Rather, the county officials independent of the Secretary (the Supervisors) are responsible for placing candidates on the ballot in the order the law prescribes. Therefore, the court held that the district court lacked authority to enjoin those officials in this action and it was powerless to provide redress.