Supreme Court rules Shelby Co. term limits legal, constitutional

Supreme Court rules Shelby Co. term limits legal, constitutional

March 29, 2006

SHELBY COUNTY (WATE) -- The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that term limits adopted by Shelby County voters for certain elected local officials are legal and constitutional.

Under the ruling, plaintiffs in the case who have served two terms on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners will not be eligible to run in upcoming primary and general elections.

Walter Bailey, Julian Bolton and Cleo Kirk had filed a challenge to the term limit charter provision. They claimed it is not authorized under state law and is invalid under the state constitution.

Each plaintiff was elected to the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in 1998 and again in 2002.

The court's opinion overturned a state court of appeals decision that had reversed a chancery court ruling upholding the 1994 charter provision. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case on March 21 in Nashville.

A majority of voters in Shelby County had amended the charter to limit terms for county mayor and members of the County Board of Commissioners.

In its decision Wednesday, the Supreme Court also denied a request by defendants in the case, including county election officials, for an order delaying the election process.

The primary election is May 2 in Shelby County and the general election will be August 3.

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