Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Dotty Dlott

Just wow. From a Cincinnati Enquirer article yesterday:

U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott was sitting down for dinner Tuesday night when she got a call about stranded motorists who couldn’t get to the polls to vote.

She said several commuters were calling her clerk’s office to ask if there was anything the court could do to help.

Dlott decided there was.

So without a formal hearing, a written complaint or any evidence beyond the calls to the clerk, the judge ordered Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to keep polls open an extra hour in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties. Her one-­paragraph order said the reason was a serious accident on I­-275 that backed up traffic throughout the afternoon and into the early evening….

Dlott’s action Tuesday came without a written complaint, a court hearing or a formal presentation of evidence that might show federal election laws were about to be violated.

“That’s amazing. I’ve never heard of anything like that,” said Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh professor who specializes in the federal courts. “I guess there’s a first time for everything.” 

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