Additional Briefs Ordered in Dascola Case

Federal judge Lawrence Zatkoff has ordered that additional briefs be submitted in the lawsuit Bob Dascola has filed against the city of Ann Arbor. That means that Ann Arbor’s Ward 3 Democratic primary ballot won’t be set any sooner than May 6, when the additional briefs are due.

Dascola filed suit in order to be placed as a candidate on the ballot for Ann Arbor’s Ward 3 city council primary. He would join Democrats Julie Grand and Samuel McMullen in that race. Ann Arbor’s city charter includes two durational requirements for city councilmembers – that they be registered voters in the city for a year before election, and that they be residents of the ward they seek to represent for a year before election.

Dascola contends that he meets the residency requirement. He allows that he does not meet the voter registration requirement. But Dascola’s core legal claim is that the two charter provisions were struck down as unconstitutional, null and void in federal court cases dating from the 1970s. The city contends that it can enforce the two city charter requirements based on case law that evolved subsequent to the 1970s cases.

The court has ordered an expedited schedule so that the issue might be resolved before early June, when ballots must be printed. Briefs, responses, and replies have already been filed on motions for summary judgment and dismissal.

The additional briefs are supposed to focus just on the question of whether a law that has once been found to be unconstitutional must be officially re-enacted before it can be enforced. From the order on additional briefing:

The briefs shall focus solely on answering the following question: If a law is found “unconstitutional and void” by a federal district court, must that law be officially re-enacted before it is enforced? The briefs shall not focus on issues regarding collateral estoppel, res judicata or the “revival doctrine,” as the Court finds these issues have been addressed. The briefs must contain accurate and binding legal support, and are limited to seven (7) pages. [.pdf of April 30, 2014 court order on additional briefs]

Both parties have until Tuesday, May 6 at 5 p.m. to submit their briefs.


  1. By John Floyd
    April 30, 2014 at 9:35 pm | permalink

    Sounds like law school assignment. Hope everybody read that part of the chapter. Teacher sounds a tad annoyed.

  2. By Mark Koroi
    April 30, 2014 at 10:26 pm | permalink

    Judge Zatkoff’s order seems to be zeroing in on the issue that Mr. Dascola had been hammering heavily in his briefing – that an enactment found unconstitutional and void needs to be re-enacted before it can be enforced anew. Tom Wieder must be smiling over the direction the Court seems to be going in.

    Postema in his prior briefing seemed to dance around this issue by arguing res judicata and collateral estoppel doctrines.