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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Oct. 18, 2004, the first day of early voting for the general election, Bobby Glaze and David Liebowitz, Democratic Party candidates for election to the Texas House of Representatives, Districts 5 and 117 respectively, sued Associated Republicans of Texas Political Action Committee, an incorporated general-purpose political committee, under the Texas Election Code and its treasurer, Norman F. Newton, (collectively “ART PAC”) for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that for four years ART PAC has been soliciting, accepting, and expending funds from other, unconnected corporations in violation of the Election Code and that it “will continue to make corporate-subsidized contributions or expenditures on behalf of plaintiffs [sic] opponents, causing imminent, irreparable harm to the plaintiffs, the integrity of our election process, and the public’s faith in our elections.” On Oct. 20, following a hearing at which the parties appeared by counsel but presented no evidence, the district court issued a temporary restraining order. Based solely on the plaintiffs’ verified seven-page petition, the defendants’ answer, and counsel’s argument, the court found “that Associated Republicans of Texas PAC has violated the Texas Election Code by soliciting and accepting funds from unconnected corporations and by expending such funds, all in violation of [253.003, 253.004, 253.005, 253.094, and 253.100 of the Election Code], and unless restrained will continue to expend corporate funds which it received in violation of the Texas Election Code and continue to solicit, and accept, corporate funds in violation of the Texas Election Code . . . .” The TRO prohibited ART PAC and others from soliciting, accepting, or spending corporate funds for fourteen days, the maximum initial period for which a TRO may issue. The 14th day was November 3, the day after the election. The court set a temporary injunction hearing for that day. On October 22, ART PAC petitioned this court for review by writ of mandamus. HOLDING:Granted. By granting a TRO on two days’ notice after the election has begun, and by setting a temporary injunction hearing the day after the election is over, the district court has essentially made a final, nonappealable adjudication affecting ART PAC’s rights to participate in this election, rights that, as ART PAC asserts, implicate its freedom of speech under the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution. The district court’s intention to do so is clear from the TRO, which finds not merely that the plaintiffs have shown by their pleadings a likelihood of success on the merits the standard required for injunctive relief but that ART PAC has in fact violated the Election Code. It is not clear why the district court thought it necessary to schedule any further hearing at all, having decided the case on the pleadings as it did. Nor is it clear why a temporary injunction should be scheduled after the election, when these plaintiffs will no longer have the same incentive to pursue relief, if indeed they have any at all, having either won or lost their races. But if the hearing should actually occur and the court, having had the factual and legal issues more fully presented, should be constrained to reconsider, the injury to ART PAC will be irremediable. OPINION:Hecht, J.; Jefferson, C.J., Owen, O’Neill, Smith, Wainwright and Brister, JJ., join. CONCURRENCE:Wainwright, J. “Real parties filed this lawsuit on October 18 and obtained a temporary restraining order two days later based on real parties’ verified pleadings and argument of counsel for the parties. No evidence was taken and the parties had insufficient time to fully and carefully brief the issues. The parties present no record of the hearing in the trial court. An injunction hearing to allow consideration of evidence and further briefing to test the sufficiency of the restraining order was scheduled to occur after the election, when the ability to exercise the constitutional rights at issue would have been moot. The trial court decided the issue on the merits, finding that Relators “violated the Texas Election Code,” and did so with the barest of procedural protections for vital First Amendment rights. The circumstances of the issuance of the restraining order raise significant concerns in light of the precautions the Supreme Court warned are necessary under the Constitution.”

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