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Grassroots.com Needs Volunteers

League Files Brief in Law Clinic Case

 

State League Preparing for Grassroots.com Voter Information

Mary Lindsey of the State League is seeking local volunteers who would be interested in (1) receiving training on Democracy Network (the national, interactive, online network of electoral information), and (2) helping to input data on candidates in local campaigns as they occur. This could be done from home or from the LWVNO office. If interested, call the office at 581-9106, or contact Mary for more information at: marybennettlindsey@compuserve.com or (225) 654-6576.

LWVEF has agreed to provide coverage all federal and gubernatorial races. Grassroots.com will host the DNET (Democracy Network) candidate and election content. Grassroots.com will provide increased server capacity and technological support. Local Leagues are encouraged to cover state, local and congressional races to have a presence on the system. 

           Amicus Brief Filed in Rule XX Case

           In July 1999, the federal district court dismissed the suit by various groups and individuals which challenged the Louisiana State Supreme Court's amendment of Rule XX which restricted university law clinics from representing various individuals and groups based on a narrow income requirement.  The plaintiffs filed an appeal to the dismissal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

The LWVLA, along with the local Leagues of New Orleans and St. Tammany, have used the university law clinics in various circumstances from joining suits to representation at hearings over 34 times since the establishment of the Tulane Law Clinic.  It appeared that the amendment to Rule XX had been made in response to corporate interests that felt threatened by groups challenging the state's procedure for granting permits and undue pressure placed on judges who had to stand for   election.  Consequently, the League felt that the result violated First Amendment Constitutional rights of free speech, association and access to the courts.

           The deadline for filing the brief was January 15th. The counsel opposing the appeal have until January 31st to file briefs challenging the amicus briefs.  After that the federal appeals court will rule on admitting the briefs into the court record on the appeal.  While we do not know the complete list of who filed briefs, in addition to the LWVLA, the deans of the law schools of Loyola and Tulane and a private party in St. James Parish also filed.

          The list of original plaintiffs in the suit challenging the Rule are the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; St. James Citizens for Jobs & the Environment; Calcasieu League for     Environmental Action Now; Holy Cross Neighborhood Association; Fishermen & Concerned Citizens Association of Plaquemines Parish; St. Thomas Residents Council; Louisiana Environmental Action Network; Louisiana Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now; North Baton Rouge Environmental Association; Louisiana Communities United; Tulane Environmental Law Society; Tulane University Graduate and Professional Student Association; and various individuals.

          Joel Waltzer of Waltzer and Associates filed the suit on a pro bono basis on behalf of the League.  Waltzer is a graduate of Tulane and during his student clinic work he represented the League.  After graduation Waltzer was also a law clerk for Chief Supreme Court Justice Pascal Calogero.  Waltzer is engaged in the practice of public interest law and maintains an office in East New Orleans where he serves the Vietnamese community.