Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Federal Judge Issues Order In TRWD Election Case
Below is the text in the email from the Texans For Government Transparency....
Federal Court Waits, but Points State Court to Texas Supreme's Ruling as a Hint !
(Fort Worth, TX) United States Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor has decided to abstain from making a ruling at this time in the case brought by Reverend Kyev Pompa Tatum, Sr., a member of Texans For Government Transparency, against the Tarrant Regional Water District Board.
Judge O’Connor opted instead to issue an order pointing the state court to appropriate case-law.
In the order handed down by the Federal District Court late Tuesday; Judge O’Connor wrote, “In State v. Catlin, however, the Texas Supreme Court held that the Texas Legislature could not extend a city clerk’s two-year term, as provided in the Texas constitution, by enacting legislation that moved the election to the following year.”
Judge O’Connor expounded on this important case law stating the Texas Supreme Court found, “Article XVI, Section 17 ‘never contemplated such legislation, but was intended to meet such emergencies as might occur under laws requiring elections or appointments to such offices to be made every two Years’”
In the federal lawsuit Reverend Tatum says the TRWD board of directors is illegally granting two of their directors a fifth year in office, after being elected to four year terms, by misrepresenting a newly passed state law. Reverend Tatum’s suit goes on to contend this action denies both he and the people of Tarrant County their basic constitutional right to vote for their elected representatives.
TFGT President John Austin Basham was pleased with the Judges order saying, “Judge O’Connor essentially passed this case back to state district court while giving them a nudge in the right direction.” Basham went on to say, “Judge O’Connor made it clear that Reverend Tatum could redress this claim in his court if the state district court’s ruling is in error or the state fails to rule at all.”
The state case brought by TFGT, John Austin Basham, and Darlia Hobbs against the TRWD Board of directors will continue Thursday February 6th in Tarrant Counties 48th District Court in front of Judge David Evans. Basham commented on the case continuing Thursday by saying, “With the clear guidance and reading of the law by the Federal Court, I expect the state court’s decision will come quickly. The big question is whether or not the TRWD board will then allow voters to vote or drag us back into court?”