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Appeal Alleges “The ballot language was unlawfully misleading because it failed to describe the ‘true nature’ of Senate Bill 1, which was political gerrymandering.” 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed an appeal with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals on behalf of MDPetitions.com against Maryland Secretary of State John McDonough and the State Board of Elections asking the appellate court to order a new vote on Question 5, a November 2012 referendum on the state’s gerrymandered congressional redistricting plan. The lawsuit alleges that ballot language certified by Secretary of State McDonough was “misleading and insufficient as a matter of law.”  The appeal was filed on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.

In the appeal filed on behalf of MDPetitions.com, Judicial Watch argues:

The ballot language gave the voters of Maryland no idea they were being asked to approve some of the most gerrymandered districts in the United States. The language (and therefore, the vote) was illegal and in violation of the Maryland Constitution because it failed to apprise voters of the true nature of the redistricting, and because it failed to inform voters of the broad scope of the changes to the existing congressional districts.

Judicial Watch and MDPetitions.com asked the Court of Appeals to reverse a September, 2012, Circuit Court decision upholding the ballot language and remand the case to the Circuit Court with instructions to order a new election on Question 5. “The only sufficient remedy for this illegality,” the appeal argues, “is voiding the referendum results and ordering a new election using ballot language that informs voters of the true nature of Senate Bill 1,” the legislation authorizing ballot Question 5.

On October 20, 2011, the Maryland General Assembly passed and Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law Senate Bill 1 to redistrict Maryland’s eight congressional districts. In August 2012, Judicial Watch and MDPetitions.com successfully defended the placement of the Congressional Districting Plan on the 2012 ballot when Maryland’s highest court denied an attempt by the state Democratic Party to prevent a referendum.

On August 30, 2012, Judicial Watch filed a complaint in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County alleging that the Question 5 ballot language certified by the Secretary of State was legally insufficient. It noted that the ballot, “is a mere 23 words and omits any reference to the fact that Senate Bill 1 makes material changes to existing congressional districts … remov[ing] 1.6 million Marylanders from their previous congressional district.” On September 6, 2012, the Circuit Court ruled in favor of the state, prompting this week’s action in the Special Court of Appeals.

“The people of Maryland have been effectively denied their constitutional right to choose their own representation in Congress,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “As our lawsuit makes clear, the gerrymandered map undermines the accountability of Maryland’s congressional representatives to the voters by both reducing competitive congressional races and dividing communities to prevent unified opinions about representatives. Voters were purposefully misled by the ballot language when they voted on the issue last November.”

At the time of the Question 5 referendum, voters were urged to vote “No” on Question 5 by the editorial boards of the Baltimore Sun, the Annapolis Capital Gazette, the Carroll County Times, the Gazette, the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, and Washington Jewish Week. The Washington Post editorialized: “The map … mocks the idea that voting districts should be compact or easily navigable. The eight districts respect neither jurisdictional boundaries nor communities of interest. To protect incumbents and for partisan advantage, the map has been sliced, diced, shuffled and shattered, making districts resemble studies in cubism.”  The referendum passed with the support of 64% of the voters.

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today announced that its client, MDPetitions.com, has asked a Maryland Circuit Court to dismiss a lawsuit that would deny Maryland voters an opportunity to consider “tuition benefits” for illegal alien students in the 2012 elections (John Doe, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections, (No. 02-C-11-163050)).

According to MDPetition.com’s legal brief, the illegal alien activist group Casa de Maryland and the other plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit are wrong as a matter of law and have not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that they are entitled to relief from the court:

Although Plaintiffs move for summary judgment, conspicuously absent from their motion are any affidavits or other admissible evidence demonstrating that they are ‘aggrieved’ persons or registered Maryland voters or otherwise entitled to relief. Plaintiffs’ motion must fail for this reason alone. In addition, Plaintiffs’ motion must fail because Plaintiffs are wrong as a matter of law about whether SB 167 is subject to referendum. It clearly is.

Moreover, not only must Plaintiffs’ motion fail, but the Amended complaint must be dismissed and/or summary judgment be entered against Plaintiffs because they have failed to allege sufficient facts to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and are not entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

SB 167, also known as the Maryland DREAM Act, was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law enables certain illegal aliens to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions. MDPetitions.com collected 132,071 signatures, nearly twice the amount required by law, in support of a petition to put the SB 167 to voters in a referendum.

Two illegal aliens, several Maryland voters, and the activist group Casa de Maryland challenged the petition drive in court. On October 7, 2011, MDPetitions.com was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit, which seeks to deny voters an up-or-down vote on SB167.

On December 5, 2011, Casa de Maryland and the other plaintiffs signed a Joint Stipulation stating they would no longer challenge the “sufficiency and number of the petition signatures” collected by MDPetitions.com. However, the plaintiffs have continued to maintain that the SB 167 cannot legally be subject to referendum.

MDPetitions.com argues in its court filing, that Maryland voters who signed the petition are exercising their rights under Article XVI, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution, which unambiguously states: “The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the State, to approve or reject at the polls, any Act, or part of any Act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor.”

The only limitation on this constitutional right is where the law in question “(1) makes an appropriation of public funds, and (2) is for the purpose of ‘maintaining the State Government’ or ‘maintaining or aiding any public institution.’” The Court of Appeals has held that an act by the Maryland Assembly is an “appropriation” if its “primary object is to authorize from the state treasury of a certain sum of money for a specified public object or purpose to which sum is to be applied.”

However, as Judicial Watch argues on behalf of MDPetitions.com, SB 167 is “completely devoid” of such an expenditure of funds. The law is “nothing more than a policy choice by the General Assembly that extends eligibility for reduced, in-state and in-county tuition to a new group of persons…This new policy choice does not authorize the expenditure of any public monies at all, much less a particular amount of public money, for a specific purpose.”

MDPetitions.com is represented by Judicial Watch. The chairman of MDPetitions.com is Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County; Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties is its honorary chairman.

“This lawsuit should be dismissed in its entirety. The plaintiffs are desperate to prevent Maryland voters from having a say on taxpayer-subsidized tuition for illegal aliens, but they have now run out of legal arguments. MDPetitions.com abided by the letter of the law and ran a highly successful petition campaign. It’s now time to leave the issue of discounted tuition for illegal aliens to the voters,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Indeed, Casa de Maryland has seemed to acknowledge that its lawsuit will fail and that voters will have the final word, as it recently announced plans to launch a $10 million fundraising campaign to convince voters that they shouldn’t overturn the illegal alien tuition policy on Election Day.”

Neil Parrott stated, “The voters of Maryland have spoken loudly and clearly that they want to be able to vote to decide whether to give their hard-earned money to subsidize college educations for illegal aliens. This lawsuit from illegal aliens and Casa de Maryland, attempting to deny Marylander’s their constitutional right to referendum, should be dismissed so that the voters, not the courts, can decide.”

“I have said from the beginning that this legal action by Casa de Maryland is bizarre,” said Delegate McDonough. “The idea of illegal aliens suing Maryland citizens to prevent them from voting illustrates how much they disrespect citizenship.

“The Maryland DREAM Act, SB 167, is an anti-American bill that takes college educations away from our own citizens and violates federal law. Over 132,000 Marylanders signed this most historic petition to take the SB 167 to referendum, and the voters should decide Maryland’s future.

“In-state college tuition rates are a finite resource and are designed for citizens, not those whose mere presence represents the violation of the rule of law.”

The Maryland DREAM Act was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law makes certain illegal aliens eligible to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions, including the University of Maryland. The MDPetitions.com petition drive collected 132,071 signatures, nearly twice the amount required by law to put the new benefit to voters in a referendum.

Illegal aliens and the activist group Casa de Maryland challenged the petition drive in court to give taxpayer dollar subsidies for college tuition for certain illegal aliens. On October 7, 2011, MDPetitions.com was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit which seeks to deny voters an up-or-down vote on the Maryland DREAM Act. The MDPetitions.com group is represented by Judicial Watch. The chairman of MDPetitions.com is Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County; Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties is its honorary chairman.

Contact Information:
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Washington, DC — December 7, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today announced developments in the MDPetitions.com legal action over whether Maryland voters will have the opportunity to directly consider “tuition benefits” for illegal alien students. Pursuant to a Joint Stipulation signed on December 5, 2011, Casa de Maryland and illegal alien activist plaintiffs will no longer challenge the “sufficiency and number of the petition signatures” collected by MDPetitions.com to place the repeal of the illegal alien tuition benefits policy on the November, 2012 Maryland ballot.The plaintiffs will continue to maintain that the Maryland DREAM Act cannot legally be subject to referendum. However, as MDPetitions.com argues in its court filings, Maryland voters are merely exercising their rights under Article XVI, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution, which unambiguously states:

The people reserve to themselves power known as The Referendum, by petition to have submitted to the registered voters of the State, to approve or reject at the polls, any Act, or part of any Act of the General Assembly, if approved by the Governor, or, if passed by the General Assembly over the veto of the Governor.

The Maryland DREAM Act was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law makes certain illegal aliens eligible to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions, including the University of Maryland. The MDPetitions.com petition drive collected 132,071 signatures, nearly twice the amount required by law to put the new benefit to voters in a referendum.

Illegal aliens and the activist group Casa de Maryland challenged the petition drive in court to give taxpayer dollar subsidies for college tuition for certain illegal aliens. On October 7, 2011, MDPetitions.com was granted permission to intervene in the lawsuit which seeks to deny voters an up-or-down vote on the Maryland DREAM Act (John Doe, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections (No. 02-C-11-163050)). The MDPetitions.com group is represented by Judicial Watch. The chairman of MDPetitions.com is Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County; Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties is its honorary chairman.

“Now that both sides agree that MDPetitions.com’s petition signatures are sufficient and valid, illegal alien activists are running out of arguments to shield the Maryland DREAM Act from the voters,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This political lawsuit is designed for one purpose: to deny Maryland voters a right to have their voices heard on the issue of taxpayer-funded perks for illegal aliens. We are confident the courts will uphold our client’s petition drive and that democracy will not be subverted.”

Neil Parrott stated, “While Casa de Maryland wanted to throw out literally tens of thousands of valid signatures in an effort to short circuit the democratic process in our state, they simply could not do it. The hard work of Marylanders from the Eastern Shore, to the Baltimore region, to Southern Maryland, to the mountains in Western Maryland paid off, resulting in over 130,000 signatures submitted and over 109,000 validated signatures. These strong numbers, almost twice the required validated signatures, proved to be an obstacle that the opposition could not be overcome. This victory shows that Marylanders do have a voice, and that by working together we can defeat legislation that just doesn’t make sense.”

“This is the People’s Petition and the most historic referendum drive in the state of Maryland. We needed to collect 55,736 valid signatures of registered voters in less than 60 days to send SB 167 to referendum. The citizens submitted over 132,000, and the State Board of Elections validated over 108,000. Today is a great day for the people of Maryland, who are one step closer to voting on the referendum they have clearly asked for and are legally due,” said Delegate McDonough.

Judicial Watch Represents Group in Legal Battle against Illegal Alien Advocates over “In State Tuition”

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Washington, DC — October 27, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today announced new developments in the MDPetitions.com legal action to ensure voters have the opportunity to consider “tuition benefits” for illegal alien students. These legal developments were among those discussed today at a press conference in Annapolis, the Maryland state capital.On October 7, 2011, MDPetitions.com was granted permission to intervene in a lawsuit that seeks to deny voters an up-or-down vote on the Maryland DREAM Act (John Doe, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections, (No. 02-C-11-163050)). The MDPetitions.com group is represented by Judicial Watch.The Maryland DREAM Act was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law creates a new taxpayer-subsidized public benefit — the ability to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions — for certain eligible illegal aliens. The MDPetitions.com petition drive collected nearly twice the amount of signatures required by law to put the new benefit to voters in a referendum.Illegal aliens and the activist group Casa de Maryland challenged the petition drive in court in order to protect taxpayer dollar subsidies for the college tuition for certain illegal aliens.“This important court battle has begun. We will analyze each and every signature now being challenged in court in order to protect the right of the citizens of Maryland to vote on this issue,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “In fact, our initial analysis shows many Maryland citizens, as many as 1,600, have had their petitions improperly rejected. We are confident that the illegal aliens and their allies will not succeed in asking the courts to reject tens of thousands of citizen petition signatures. In the end, the democratic process will not be subverted.”“Over 130,000 people indicated that they wanted to vote on whether their tax dollars should be used to pay for college tuition for adult immigrants illegally in our country. Our legal system must make sure that none of those signers are disenfranchised unnecessarily, and Judicial Watch is the perfect organization to watch over the rights of Marylanders. MDPetitions.com is proud to be a party to this case, and with Judicial Watch leading the legal effort, we will defend each and every one of those signatures. Casa de Maryland, two illegal aliens, and others are suing to stop democracy in action, but MDPetitions.com will defend the rights of Marylanders: the right to referendum as provided in the Maryland Constitution,” said Delegate Neil Parrott.“I am deeply grateful that I was able to prevail upon Judicial Watch to intervene on behalf of the citizens of Maryland and protect their voting rights against a challenge promoted by illegal aliens,” said Delegate Pat McDonough.The chairman of MDPetitions.com is Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County; Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties is its honorary chairman.

Voter Referendum Leaders Continue Historic Effort and Court Battle to Bring “In-State Tuition” for Illegal Aliens to Voters on Election Day, 2012

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — October 26, 2011

Update: Oct 26, 2011, 2:31 p.m. – event location changed due to weather forecast

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced it will host a press conference regarding new developments in the MDPetitions.com legal action to ensure voters have the opportunity to consider “tuition benefit” for illegal alien students.

Date: Thursday, October 27
Time: 2:30 p.m. EDT
Location: House of Delegates Building, Judiciary Committee Room #100
6 Bladen Street
Annapolis, Maryland

The DREAM Act was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law creates a new taxpayer-subsidized public benefit — the ability to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions — for certain eligible illegal aliens. The petition drive was perhaps the most successful in Maryland history. It collected nearly twice the amount of signatures required by law to put the new benefit to voters in a referendum.The chairman of MDPetitions.com is Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County; Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties is its honorary chairman.

Judicial Watch to Represent MDPetitions.com in Legal Action to Ensure Voters Have the Opportunity to Consider “Tuition Benefit” for Illegal Aliens Students

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — September 22, 2011


Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed a “Motion to Intervene” on behalf of MDPetitions.com, the organization that sponsored the petition drive to place the Maryland DREAM Act on the ballot for the November 2012 elections. The Motion to Intervene was filed in response to a lawsuit that seeks to deny voters an up-or-down vote on the Maryland DREAM Act (John Doe, et al., v. Maryland State Board of Elections, (No. 02-C-11-163050)). The chairman of MDPetitions.com is Maryland Assembly Delegate Neil Parrott of Washington County; Delegate Patrick McDonough of Baltimore and Harford Counties is its honorary chairman.The DREAM Act was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly and signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on May 10, 2011. The law creates a new taxpayer-subsidized public benefit — the ability to pay reduced tuition rates at Maryland community colleges and public higher education institutions — for certain eligible illegal aliens. The petition drive was perhaps the most successful in Maryland history. It collected nearly twice the amount of signatures required by law to put the new benefit to voters in a referendum. As stated in MDPetitions.com’s filing:

As the sponsor of this overwhelmingly successful petition, MDPetitions.com obviously has a compelling interest in ensuring that voters across the State of Maryland have the opportunity to vote on the Maryland DREAM Act in the November 2012 election.MDPetitions.com represents not only its leaders and organizers and the hundreds of volunteers who worked to make the successful petition possible, but also the 108,923 confirmed registered voters who signed the petition in the exercise of their rights under Article XVI, Section 2 of the Maryland Constitution. In addition, as the creator of a web-based computer program that as many as 28,860 confirmed registered voters used to generate, print, sign, and mail in clear and accurate petition pages,MDPetitions.com has a unique interest in preserving the availability of this…tool for use by registered voters in future petition drives. MDPetitions.com seeks intervention… to protect these…interests against the unfounded allegations of the [lawsuit]… 

The filing also included an “Answer of Intervener MDPetitions.com to Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief,” which responds point-by-point to the allegations of the plaintiffs, who include two illegal aliens and the advocacy group CASA de Maryland.“CASA de Maryland and the illegal alien lobby are attempting to throw out over 100,000 validated voter signatures and ignore the will of the people,” said Delegate Neil Parrott. “It appears that those who oppose the referendum process are doing so because they know how unpopular this bill is and, fearing that they will lose at the ballot box, have mounted this lawsuit to prevent Marylanders from exercising their constitutional right to decide the issue on their own. Marylanders across the state have worked hard to bring this bill to referendum, because they know Maryland cannot afford to subsidize college tuition for illegal aliens and they want to see our existing immigration laws enforced. Maryland’s referendum process has worked, and now Marylanders should have their voices heard at the ballot box.”“It is a great asset to the voters of Maryland to have Judicial Watch help to make sure that Marylanders will have an opportunity to vote on this important issue in November of 2012,” said Delegate Patrick McDonough. “As Honorary Chairman I know the volunteers worked hard to make this petition campaign the most successful in the history of the state. This is the people’s petition and the voters have the right to exercise their power on this key issue.”“MDPetitions.com followed the letter of the law in its overwhelmingly successful petition drive, and there is no question that the Maryland DREAM Act should be put to a referendum. The illegal immigration lobby simply wants to keep Maryland voters from having their say on the issue of taxpayer-funded tuition benefits for illegal aliens,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The illegal immigration lobby knows that the American people are fed up with bankrolling perks for illegal aliens. Given Maryland’s devastating budget crunch, now is not the time to spend taxpayer dollars by paying for the education of illegal aliens who can’t legally work in Maryland or anywhere else in the United States.”Contact Delegate Neil Parrott: 410-774-0121, mdpetitions@gmail.comContact Delegate Pat McDonough: (410) 238-0025, patmcdee@comcast.net

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