De­ci­sion end­ing court or­der in GOP vot­ing rights case up­held

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL / NATION -

PHIL­A­DEL­PHIA — A fed­eral ap­peals court has re­fused to re-im­pose re­stric­tions on Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee voter ac­tiv­i­ties set in mo­tion decades ago by a New Jersey gu­ber­na­to­rial race.

The 3rd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals up­held a de­ci­sion by U.S. Dis­trict Judge John Vazquez end­ing a cour­tordered agree­ment, called a con­sent de­cree, to pre­vent the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee from tar­get­ing mi­nor­ity vot­ers.

The agree­ment was to ex­pire in 2017, but the judge al­lowed the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee more time to try and show vi­o­la­tions had oc­curred, which in­cluded al­low­ing lawyers to ques­tion for­mer Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee of­fi­cial Sean Spicer about his ac­tiv­i­ties at Trump Tower on the night of the 2016 elec­tion. Vazquez said the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee hadn’t proven a vi­o­la­tion of the con­sent de­cree, which RNC lawyers con­tend the or­ga­ni­za­tion has com­plied with for years.

The Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee ap­pealed, say­ing that the judge didn’t al­low its lawyers to in­ter­view ad­di­tional wit­nesses. But the three-judge ap­peals court panel unan­i­mously ruled last week that Vazquez “rea­son­ably lim­ited the scope” of the Demo­cratic re­quests.

“While it is pos­si­ble that an­other court would have al­lowed fur­ther dis­cov­ery or man­aged the case dif­fer­ently, we re­view only for abuse of dis­cre­tion,” the ap­peals court said.

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