Doe #1 v. Reed

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 10-23-2012
  • Case #: 11-35854
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Tashima for the Court, Circuit Judge Pregerson; Concurrence by Circuit Judge N. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

When no effective relief can be granted and it could reasonably be determined that the controversy could be fully litigated before becoming moot, the case is dismissed as moot.

Protect Marriage Washington (PMW) filed to enjoin the Secretary of State and Public Records Officer of the State of Washington, from releasing names of those who signed petitions supporting a referendum against Washington Senate Bill 5688, which expanded the rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners. PMW claims that making the records public would violate First Amendment rights because it would expose the signers to threats, harassment and reprisals. The Court denied the injunction and the petitions became available on the Internet. First, to determine mootness, the Court considered if there was a way to grant effective relief for the current controversy. The Court noted that PMW’s petition for injunction could not be effectively granted because the petitions had already been released to the public. The petition was already available on websites that were not under the State’s control, so any injunctive relief would not prevent the State from further disclosure. Second, the Court noted that future disclosures will not evade review because it is reasonably foreseeable that the disclosure issues could be fully litigated before becoming moot, since a temporary restraining order could be in effect. The Ninth Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction because the case was moot. APPEAL DISMISSED.

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