Judge refuses to halt Fayetteville civil rights ordinance election | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Judge refuses to halt Fayetteville civil rights ordinance election

Posted By on Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 11:16 AM

click to enlarge JUDGE DOUG MARTIN: Tosses election challenge.
  • JUDGE DOUG MARTIN: Tosses election challenge.
40/29 reports that Circuit Judge Doug Martin has denied a request for an injunction to stop the special election Tuesday on a city civil rights ordinance for Fayetteville.

Opponents of the ordinance had sued to stop the election, objecting to the Fayetteville City Council procedure that put the ordinance on the ballot and also raising a premature claim that the ordinance, if adopted, could violate a state law aimed at preventing cities from passing laws that protect gay people from discrimination.

A hearing had been scheduled Friday, but Martin canceled the hearing and denied the request.

Here's the order.

Martin said that the objection was filed too close to the election — the day before early voting began. In an earlier case, the Arkansas Supreme Court invalidated a request to stop an election filed one day before the election. It said that the complainant had not moved expeditiously and failed to cite a compelling reason for not acting earlier.

Martin said the Fayetteville case wasn't identical, but the rationale applies, with a complaint filed a day before voting began. He said the Fayetteville plaintiffs, represented by Travis Story, had failed to move expeditiously and offered "no compelling reason" for the delay. He said the late filing made it impossible for him to comply with rules on the speed for setting hearings on such proceedings. He declared the requests for restraining orders moot and canceled the hearing.

Story had argued to me that his suit was more in the nature of an illegal exaction lawsuit and the improper expenditure of money on holding the election didn't really begin until the election began. His argument was that, if anything, he filed the complaint early. Story's illegal exaction claim rested on shaky ground. The law is for illegal actions. If the election was properly called and held, that's the only expenditure that could be considered. If it were to produce a law that was arguably unenforceable, it would be an argument of another sort for another day. And the ordinance, if passed, doesn't take effect for 60 days, so no irreparable harm comes to anyone from holding the election.

Supporters of the ordinance had said the lawsuit was merely a political gimmick to attract attention. The ordinance appears to have broader support, particularly from the business community, than a more wide-ranging ordinance defeated in an earlier referendum. This measure is also more clearly put to voters as an up or down vote on the ordinance. Opponents, in referring the earlier ordinance, constructed the question in such a way that a vote "For" was a vote to repeal.

Said For Fayetteville, the group working to pass the ordinance:

As we expected, Judge Martin dismissed the opposition's eleventh hour injunction to stop the election. Their desperate attempt to interfere with the democratic process has failed.

Now go out and exercise your constitutional right to vote! Show the opposition that Fayetteville will not be intimidated by frivolous lawsuits. We stand for diversity, inclusion, and equality. We are FOR 5781!




Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-8 of 8

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016
  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016

Most Shared

  • Conflicts of interest in the legislatures

    The Center for Public Integrity and the Associated Press collaborated for a project aimed at highlighting state legislators whose lawmaking might be affected by private business interests.
  • Industrial hemp pilot program coming soon to Arkansas

    One of the booths at this week's Ark-La-Tex Medical Cannabis Expo was hosted by the Arkansas Hemp Association, a trade group founded to promote and expand non-intoxicating industrial hemp as an agricultural crop in the state. AHA Vice President Jeremy Fisher said the first licenses to grow experimental plots of hemp in the state should be issued by the Arkansas State Plant Board next spring.
  • Cats and dogs

    I've always been leery of people who dislike animals. To my wife and me, a house without dog hair in the corners and a cat perched on the windowsill is as barren as a highway rest stop. We're down to three dogs and two cats, the smallest menagerie we've had for years.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation