On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge issued a show cause order to the defense lawyers in a case filed by the Defend Affirmative Action Party against the UC Board of Regents and the ASUC.
The show cause order requires the defendants to address the issues of viewpoint discrimination, possible remedy and the jurisdiction of the court. The jurisdiction of the court includes the issue of whether the named students can be held liable as state actors.
This brief is due by April 15, and a reply from the plaintiff’s lawyers is due April 22. A second hearing has been scheduled for May 4 at 10 a.m. to further address the allegations.
DAAP originally filed the lawsuit — in which it alleged that its rights to freedom of speech, free association and equal protection had been violated — March 30. The party also filed for a temporary restraining order, or TRO, to halt the 2016 ASUC elections. Although U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria denied the application April 1, he said he does “not rule out viewpoint discrimination” or bias against a certain opinion or belief, in this case, DAAP.
“In any case where there is a violation of a fundamental principle … there is harm that’s been done,” said Shanta Driver, lawyer for DAAP, arguing that the ASUC did discriminate against DAAP by not allowing the party its full rights.
Defense lawyers for the ASUC could not be reached for comment.
Should the court decide that the rights to free speech and free association were violated, one possible remedy is to re-do the ASUC elections. Driver hopes the re-election would take place before the end of the spring semester.
“We think that there needs to be a new election held,” Driver said. “We think that not only were we denied our first amendment rights … but also the way the election was conducted harmed us and discriminated against us.”
Anderson Lanham is the lead crime & courts reporter. Contact her at [email protected].