Friday, October 24, 2008
With all the other election news in the news, perhaps you've missed this tidbit from the Big Apple:
our city council has voted to abolish term limits to allow the current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to run for his third term, as will a number of other city officials.
The problem? The voters of NYC voted for two-term limits in 1993 and 1996.
The legal strategies? Multiple. According to a New York Times article, two lawsuits have already been filed and more are contemplated. One strategy will undoubtedly concern equal protection and racial classifications - - - term limits have worked to allow more racial minorities to be elected to city positions. There will also be strategies under the state constitution and city charter. As the NYT article reported:
“We’re all gearing up for a herculean fight,” said Norman Siegel, a civil liberties lawyer. Last week, he and 16 other lawyers and academics met at a law firm in downtown Manhattan to brainstorm, debate and define the best legal strategy to fight the term limits change.
Not everyone agrees that the term-limits change should be challenged: a NYT editorial on Wednesday urged the city counsel to change the term-limits law that had been approved by the voters. While those with longish memories will recall that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani unsuccessfully argued that he should be allowed to run for a third term post-September 11, 2001, it seems that the man New Yorkers call "Mayor Mike" or even "Millionaire Mayor Mike" has succeeded where Giuliani failed.
Although the courts might change that.