Politics » Politics Feature

The Term Limits Ruling

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Clearly, the political waters have been roiled by last week’s state Appeals Court decision invalidating the two-term limits provision voted for by 81 percent of participating Shelby County voters in a 1994 referendum. The decision, in response to a suit by three affected members of the Shelby County Commission, will alter the course of next year’s elections.

Within hours of the decision, local Republican chairman Bill Giannini was denouncing it to a meeting of the East Shelby Republican Club at the Pickering Center in Germantown. In his audience, however, was at least one loyal Republican who greeted the ruling, which overturned a previous Chancery Court decision, with satisfaction.

That was Juvenile Court clerk Steve Stamson, who privately pointed out the obvious: Two potential opponents of his – litigating commissioners Walter Bailey and Julian Bolton -- would most likely run for reelection instead.

Not only that: Commissioner Marilyn Loeffel, also affected by the decision but not an active litigant, might be brought to rethink her commitment to run against Stamson’s wife Debbie in the GOP primary for the open Shelby County clerkship.

Watch this space for an elaboration of some of the likely consequences of the ruling. Meanwhile, here is part of Giannini’s official response: “I think it is outrageous that any court in this state would overturn the will of 81% of the people. We stand with the voters of Shelby County. We must have the State Supreme Court expedite a review of this ruling…. The three Democratic commissioners who brought the suit against term limits have served for 33, 22, and 15 years in their offices. The Republican Party of Shelby County strongly disapproves of this decision and demands an immediate and expedited appeal."

And here are links (courtesy of Mike Hollihan) to the court’s ruling:
http://www.hollihan.net/text/bailey.pdf
http://www.hollihan.net/text/bailey_dis.pdf

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