Comments on: Dascola to Assert Right to Run in Ward 3 it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Mon, 17 Mar 2014 14:15:00 +0000 Re: [2] “I don’t yet have a copy of the Connors opinion…”

I now have a copy. I’ve installed a link in the article. And here’s a link as well [Wojack v. City of Ann Arbor opinion]. Connors relied on a 1981 federal court decision [Joseph v City of Birmingham, 510 F Supp 1319, 1327 (ED Mich 1981)] in which judge Philip Pratt wrote:

On the one hand, the cases, especially the authoritative cases from this Circuit, clearly subject durational residency requirements to the most rigorous sort of strict scrutiny. The Sixth Circuit has emphatically nullified a two year requirement for city commissioner candidates, and apparently no case from this Circuit has upheld any durational residency requirement for candidates. On the other hand, there is no doubt that some candidate residency period is constitutional; and the courts have almost unanimously agreed that a one year requirement for municipal office is constitutionally acceptable.

But it’s clear from the opinion and the facts of the Wojack case that the only issue in that instance was residency, not voter registration. And to the extent that the charter requirement on being registered to vote in the city is the reason the city is using to prevent Dascola from running, the Connors ruling doesn’t appear to be exactly on point.

By: Dave Askins Dave Askins Sun, 16 Mar 2014 22:25:14 +0000 Re: [1] “The city should stand by its rules, settle the matter in court and, if the city is wrong, fix the dang charter for good with a simple council vote.”

I think the problem here is that the matter seems to have been settled in court – a very long time ago – but it seems to have been forgotten. Maybe there’s case law that was established subsequently on which the city is relying to justify its position. I don’t yet have a copy of the Connors opinion, and that might have citations that provide some additional perspective. If the city has some basis for thinking it could prevail in a lawsuit, we’ll find out pretty soon, I think.

As far as changing the city charter, that can’t be done with a simple council vote. It requires a referendum. But the council could play a role, by placing it on the ballot, which would relieve residents of the burden of collecting signatures to force the question onto the ballot.

By: liberalnimby liberalnimby Sun, 16 Mar 2014 21:38:24 +0000 Thank you for the excellent research as usual, Dave.

In my unlawerly opinion, “friendly persuasion” sounds rather squishy. If there is an egregious mistake in the charter, our city legal staff should issue a public written opinion (gasp!) and convince council. Like, next week.

If there’s a true legal question here, it’s worth finding the answer. How would backing down from a lawsuit provide any clarity for the future? The city should stand by its rules, settle the matter in court and, if the city is wrong, fix the dang charter for good with a simple council vote.

This is all putting aside the potentially strange scenario of “instant residency”…