United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
JOSEPH THOMAS, et al. PLAINTIFFS
PHIL BRYANT, et al. DEFENDANTS
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a motion to stay filed by two of the three
defendants. After considering the record evidence, arguments,
and applicable law, the motion will be denied.
2018, the plaintiffs filed this § 2 case challenging the
boundaries of Mississippi Senate District 22. Over the
following months, all of the lawyers and parties worked
diligently to gather evidence and marshal arguments-not just
to resolve the case before the November 2019 election, but to
have it resolved before the March 1, 2019 candidate
efforts were successful. A trial was held in early February
2019. One week later, the Court notified the parties and the
Legislature that the testimony and other evidence largely
supported the plaintiffs' allegations. A full memorandum
opinion issued on February 16, 2019.
Mississippi Legislature was provided the first opportunity to
redraw the District and extend the March 1 qualification
deadline. It has so far declined to act and there is
no progress on the horizon. Accordingly, alongside this
ruling, the Court has issued an Order extending the
qualification deadline for Districts 22 and 23 to March 15,
2019, and requiring the defendants to redraw Districts 22 and
23 in accordance with the plaintiffs' illustrative Plan
1. A separate Final Judgment will follow.
dispute remains. Two out of the three defendants-the Governor
and the Secretary of State-have appealed and argue that the
Court's ruling should be stayed pending that appeal. The
Attorney General has not appealed or joined in their motion.
governing motions to stay pending appeal is well-established:
We consider four factors in deciding a motion to stay pending
appeal: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong
showing that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2)
whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a
stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially
injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and
(4) where the public interest lies. The first two factors . .
. are the most critical.
Veasey v. Perry, 769 F.3d 890, 892 (5th Cir. 2014)
(quotation marks and citation omitted).
stay is an intrusion into the ordinary processes of
administration and judicial review, and accordingly is not a
matter of right, even if irreparable injury might otherwise
result to the appellant.” Nken v. Holder, 556
U.S. 418, 427 (2009) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
“It is instead an exercise of judicial discretion, and
the propriety of its issue is dependent upon the
circumstances of the particular case. The party requesting a
stay bears the burden of showing that the circumstances
justify an exercise of that discretion.” Id.
at 433-34 (quotation marks, citations, and brackets omitted).
movant need not always show a ‘probability' of
success on the merits; instead, the movant need only present
a substantial case on the merits when a serious legal
question is involved and show that the balance of the
equities weighs heavily in favor of granting the stay.”
Ruiz v. Estelle, 650 F.2d 555, 565 (5th Cir. 1981)