County Commissioners Say "Muni's" Issue is Now Ripe for Court Intervention



Walter Bailey
  • Walter Bailey
Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey says he and some of his fellow commissioners believe the issue of municipal school districts is ripe for judicial review and that is why they filed a petition in federal court this week.

Attorney Leo Bearman Jr. and others representing the commission filed documentsMotionforLeavetoFile.pdf ThirdPartyComplaint.pdf on Monday and they were widely publicized Tuesday.

"We have been in constant contact with counsel in reviewing and exploring avenues open to challenge the legislation enabling the municipalities to go ahead with a referendum," said Bailey. "Our case is grounded primarily on equal protection but also addresses the special legislation issue. Our contention is it is in conflict with the Tennessee Constitution and the state statute that prohibits special legislation.

"It seems to me that the approach the legislature took was a circumvention of both."

Bailey said "we" and "our" means the law firm and some members of the commission. He said he, Sidney Chism, Mike Ritz, and Steve Mulroy were "the most aggressive." The filings were discussed in an executive session Monday. Bailey said Chism, the commission chairman, called the session and that all members present were invited but not all of them attended.

In his orders last year, U.S. District Judge Samuel H. Mays said the issue of municipal school districts was not "ripe" for court action because "nothing in the record suggests that such an attempt has been made or will be made in the future" to start municipal school systems. The municipalities are scheduled to vote on August 2nd. The filing asks for an injunction to delay that.

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