American Traffic Systems (“ATS”), through its patsy, filed its emergency appeal to the Texas Supreme Court today, looking to overturn the ruling of both Tarrant County District Judge Lowe and the 2nd Court of Appeals.
ATS bases its argument on: a) the idea that the election is an illegal referendum, b) that Judge Lowe abused his discretion by granting the City of Arlington’s plea to jurisdiction, c) Mayor Cluck did not personally sign the ordinance, and d) there’s no remedy by appeal, so ATS needs the Supreme Court to step in right now, instead of waiting until after the election.
Of course, ATS is wrong on all accounts. Even if ATS was right on the question of whether the election is illegal (which it is not), there is no emergency here; long after the election is held, the courts can invalidate the results and no harm is done, if ATS can make its case.
For those who might read this and wonder about the issue regarding Mayor Cluck signing the ordinance personally, you can relax. Article VII, Section 17, which discusses the issue, states “Every ordinance or resolution, upon its becoming effective, shall be recorded in a book kept for that purpose, and shall be authenticated by the signature of the Mayor, and attested by the City Secretary.”
A requirement that a new ordinance be “authenticated by the signature of the Mayor” can be satisfied by someone acting as the Mayor’s agent. In this case, the City Secretary signed Mayor Cluck’s name with a rubber stamp, as Cluck instructed her to do, which is normal operating procedure. This would not be the case if the City Secretary signed his name without his approval, of course, as she can only act with the authority that she is given.
But hey, if you are reaching for arguments, you grab everything you can. In the business, we call it “zealous advocacy”, and you’d want your attorney to do the same. Fortunately for us, ATS and its attorney are just wrong.
The fun part of this will be when the Texas Supreme Court gets the petition from ATS, which will be signed by Wallace B. Jefferson, who is co-counsel with ATS’s usual attorney, and who served as the Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court for nearly a decade and left office toward the end of 2013. Apparently, he’s cashing in on his time in office. Our Texas Supreme Court knows him well. One hopes that the familiarity doesn’t wind up influencing the treatment of ATS’s weak arguments, but we’ll see soon enough.
(NOTE: There is no Part II of this series. ATS appealed to the 2nd Court of Appeals, which denied the appeal. The whole thing happened too soon to comment.)