& Constitutional Litigation
In litigation, NLF focuses on quality rather than quantity. The first two constitutional cases we filed resulted in landmark victories in the U.S. Supreme Court (McCutcheon v. FEC, invalidating federal aggregate contribution limits) and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (Catholic Leadership Coalition v Reisman, invalidating Texas PAC waiting period). More victories have followed, vindicating free speech, association, Fourth Amendment, voting, and due process rights in various contexts, in state and federal courts. Principal attorney Jerad Najvar has proven adept at identifying winning arguments and then applying the strategic vision and litigation strategies to shepherd a case from filing through trial and appeal. In addition to constitutional issues, we apply the same zeal to any matter we accept, including commercial disputes, election contests, original proceedings in the appellate courts, and defending other attorneys in disciplinary proceedings.
The appellate process is markedly different than the trial phase of a case, requiring a distinct vision and skill set. An appellate lawyer must be able to identify legal issues for review, ensure the trial record is properly preserved and presented, and then brief those issues persuasively for a panel of appellate judges. If necessary, the appellate advocate must be prepared to answer the judges’ questions and concerns at oral argument. NLF excels at this process. As co-counsel to plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon, Najvar helped to secure the first U.S. Supreme Court judgment invalidating a campaign contribution limit enacted by Congress. As lead counsel, we have secured multiple appellate judgments for our clients, both reversing district court judgments and affirming judgments we had already won at trial. While oral argument is relatively rarely granted in civil appeals, since his first argument in 2014, principal attorney Jerad Najvar has argued four cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and two in Texas courts of appeal. The process of preparing for and then fielding panelists’ questions at argument affords invaluable insight that aids in briefing and arguing appeals.
NLF is available to handle appellate matters in state and federal court, including original proceedings such as petitions for mandamus, as well as to assist other attorneys with dispositive motions or trial strategy.
Najvar Law Firm provides expert legal advice and compliance assistance to candidates, officeholders, political committees (“PACs”), independent-expenditure-only committees (“Super PACs”), and nonprofits active in local, state and federal politics. A complex framework of regulation scattered throughout various state and federal statutes, advisory opinions and judicial decisions governs political activity at all levels, and the rules change frequently. These rules can present confusing questions and invite missteps that can cost a campaign time and money. NLF is committed to helping clients utilize every tool at their disposal to reach their goals while remaining in compliance with the law.
NLF also represents clients with advisory opinions and enforcement matters before the Texas Ethics Commission and Federal Election Commission. When necessary, we will aggressively pursue our clients’ interests in litigation.
NLF’s current and former clients include members of the Texas House and Senate, federal and state PACs, and candidates in races from municipal office to statewide office, as well as Congressional candidates in Texas and in other states.
& Political Disputes
From residency to recounts, election laws give rise to many issues critical to a campaign. Ballot measures and candidate campaigns for local, state and federal office are all governed primarily by Texas election law with respect to matters such as ballot eligibility, voter registration, election administration, canvassing of returns, recounts and election contests. NLF combines substantive expertise in Texas election laws with litigation experience in state and federal courts. This combination of subject-matter knowledge and the practical ability to resolve matters in court is invaluable in the election context, where disputes are often decided on an emergency basis.
Whether anticipating a challenge to ballot eligibility or establishing a game plan for Election Day Operations, preparation and quick, decisive action are key in election disputes. It is often advisable to prepare arguments and draft pleadings, and plan for collection of affidavits from poll watchers and voters, before Election Day in order to protect the integrity of the vote or fend off unwarranted challenges by an opponent.
NLF has quickly built a reputation for aggressively prosecuting election and other political disputes. After a four-day election contest trial in March 2014, NLF secured a judgment in favor of a candidate for municipal office in Weslaco, Texas, ordering a new election due to voter fraud and pervasive violations of certain disclosure provisions related to handling mail-in ballots. NLF successfully defended the judgment on appeal, securing an important precedent from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals in the fight against voter fraud statewide. Rivera v. Lopez, No. 13-14-00581-CV, 2014 WL 8843788 (May 14, 2014).
In another Hidalgo County case, Jerad successfully represented two members of the Hidalgo City Council who had been sued by another fellow councilmember. The plaintiff in that case, Palmas v. Sanchez, had asked the court to enjoin the defendant councilmembers from voting on matters affecting the plaintiffs’ business interests. Specifically, the plaintiff city councilmember wanted to prevent NLF’s clients from voting to approve a permit for a bus company that would compete with plaintiffs’ buses at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. Najvar first successfully established that, pursuant to the constitutional separation of powers, the court did not have the power to enjoin his clients from voting as members of city council. Later, after the district judge chased NLF’s clients down the freeway and pulled them over, Najvar secured his recusal, and then secured dismissal of the entire lawsuit.
Najvar Law Firm
2180 North Loop West
Houston, TX 77018