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On Consolidation and The Injunction

So the votes will be counted in the consolidation referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot.

They will be counted by the rules, so to speak, as they stand now – a vote total for inside Memphis and a vote total for outside Memphis.

But the Shelby County Election Commission will not certify the results at least until there is a ruling from Federal Judge Thomas Anderson on the court challenge to the “dual majorities” requirement of state law.

That’s the upshot of the preliminary injunction Anderson has now issued in the court case that seeks a single countywide vote to decide the fate of the metro charter.

Both sides in the lawsuit, filed earlier this month, had agreed to the injunction before Anderson signed off on it.

Many questions remain about an end game that the preliminary injunction confirms probably won’t happen when the polls close on the evening of Nov. 2.

Does the injunction barring certification of election results remain in place if whoever loses before Anderson seeks an appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals?

When will Anderson hear the case?

Meanwhile, attorney and retired Circuit Court Judge D’Army Bailey has offered a cautionary note on this that we will explore in Friday’s edition of The Daily News. If you get our email edition or go online, you will see it at around 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Bailey and Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy first questioned the dual majorities requirement in April.

Several months later, Bailey got a summary and opinion from the Legal Defense Fund that he revealed this week.

The opinion from attorney Ryan Haygood concluded a challenge of the dual majorities would “likely be unsuccessful.”

And Haygood cautioned that pursuing such a challenge and losing could set in motion an erosion of standards in the Civil Rights Act. Attorneys have long weighed whether asking a court to rule on a question of law might make things worse for their side of a broader issue if the answer is not the one they want.

We will go over those reasons which have a lot to do with the city’s unique political history.

This is just the latest part of what has become a civic discussion at the end of a busy election year that promises to continue even after the court rulings decide how the votes will be counted and what results will be certified.

It’s proof that we are in a period of political transformation and where we will be at the end of that transformation is still an open question.

Dansette

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