Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Is this like splitting the baby?

And if so, where? Federal District Judge Bernice Donald refused to grant Ophelia Ford relief from a possible removal from her District 29 Senate seat.

However, she advised the Senate that they cannot take any action which violates Federal or state voting laws. Here is the full text of the 32-page ruling; tip of the hat to David Holt for sending the link from WMC-TV.

I'm not a lawyer, and I don't even play one on TV, but it appears that Judge Donald is warning the Senate to have their ducks in a row before they toss her to the street.

The question remains this; if she is removed, do the Republicans on the County Commission risk out-and-out war by attempting to name Terry Roland as the interim Senator? We have elections coming up, and ANY Democrat on the Commission who doesn't fight this tooth and toenail will face a fight in the primary. This COULD be war!


autoegocrat said...

Nice to see that WMC is posting source documents on its website now. That's a first for Memphis, as far as I'm aware.

Michael Roy Hollihan said...

A few of the news stations, and the CA, have done it before, but only sporadically. Nashville's news stations and the Tennessean have been beating us like bad dogs on this count for a while now.

As for LWC's question, I think the SCRP *would* try to have a Republican appointed, because they're just that dumb; but the County Commissioners have their eyes on the electorate they'll face later this year and are far more cautious.

Having already seated Ophelia, the Senate is in a tight spot. With all the evidence they now have (especially with the Hayes revelations), if they'd waited they could have just refused to seat Ophelia and dumped a solution on Shelby County. The Shelby County Election Commission's "certification" is now fatally flawed, which would be sufficient. But having seated her, they face a problem.

I've only read Judge Donald's conclusion which, to me, is a lot of smoke and mirrors, and warnings. The central issue Ford pegged her injunction on was race and Donald explicitly rejected that. She only noted that whatever standard the Senate used on Ford had to be applied to every county in Tennessee. Since there have been no other challenges brought before them, it's only a future concern.

The Senate screwed the pooch by rushing things and being expedient. It makes their job in booting Ophelia harder, but not impossible. Make Shelby County deal with it, and therefore Judge Donald, by just dumping it back on them.

Michael Roy Hollihan said...

Oh, I could be very wrong here (and often have been) but my guess is that the County Commission will find a senior, retired politico with either strong bipartisan appeal or no previous history of partisan politics to fill the seat until this Fall.

Brassmask said...

As someone just now starting to really try and figure out the local political scene, I have no idea what the laws are and so forth but I do know this.

There is a metastasizing disenchantment among Memphians with the name Ford. I have never really been a fan having watched as a near-casual observer. Most of my friends watch local politics even less than I and they've been down on Fords for a long time. Maybe this isn't the best way to look at things but that is the reality.

In this case with Ophelia Ford, I've not been interested in her winning the seat to begin with and I'm not overly interested in her keeping it.

This is all part of the culture among politicos that if you're a Dem anyone with a D behind their name must inherently be better than someone with an R.

At one that may have been true but we've (Dems, though, I'm only now trying to reclaim that as something I consider myself) been lax in our recruitment and remiss in our laying out of positions.

What did Ophelia Ford run on? I never saw one speech of hers on television. As far as Memphians know, I feel confident in saying, she ran on being a Ford. Name recognition alone is not what elections are about. Or maybe they are, but they absolutely shouldn't be.

But on this subject, if someone with a D behind their name would take the time to spell out why it is so damned important to make sure Ophelia keeps her seat other than she has that D, then I'd really look at it with renewed vigor.