The mission of the Connecticut Judicial Branch is to serve the interests of justice and the public by resolving matters brought before it in a fair, timely, efficient and open manner.

Declaratory Judgment Law Supreme Court Slip Opinion

by Roy, Christopher


SC20486 - Fay v. Merrill ("The principal issue in this public interest appeal is whether Governor Ned Lamont's Executive Order No. 7QQ, which was later ratified by the legislature; see Public Acts, Spec. Sess., July, 2020, No. 20-3, § 16 (Spec. Sess. P.A. 20-3); and which modified General Statutes (Rev. to 2019) § 9-135 by adding 'COVID-19' as a permissible reason for absentee voting, violates article sixth, § 7, of the Connecticut constitution. The four plaintiffs, who were candidates for the Republican Party's nomination for United States Congress for Connecticut's First and Second Congressional Districts, appealed directly pursuant to General Statutes § 52-265a from the judgment of the trial court in favor of the defendant, Denise W. Merrill, Secretary of the State, in this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the defendant's change of the absentee ballot application for the August 11, 2020 primary election (August primary) to add coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a new reason for requesting an absentee ballot pursuant to Executive Order No. 7QQ. Following deliberations after an expedited oral argument held on August 6, 2020, we ruled from the bench that (1) the plaintiffs were aggrieved and had standing to bring the declaratory judgment action, (2) we could not consider, for the first time on appeal, the defendant's special defense of laches as an alternative ground for affirming the judgment of the trial court, and (3) Executive Order No. 7QQ does not violate article sixth, § 7, because the phrase 'unable to appear at the polling place on the day of election because of . . . sickness,' as used in that constitutional provision, is not limited to an illness suffered by the individual voter that renders that person physically unable to travel to the polling place. Accordingly, we affirmed the judgment of the trial court and indicated that a written opinion would follow. This is that opinion.")