Term Limits Lawsuit Continues
November 10th, 2008
Term limits, well, it just brings people together.
Who would have thought former deputy mayor during the Giuliani administration, Randy Mastro, would ever partner with Norman Siegel, former director of the NYCLU and candidate for public advocate, (both pictured here) on civil rights litigation taking aim at City Hall?
Who would have imagined that Councilmember Charles Barron, a former Black Panther, would stand side by side with Comptroller William Thompson Jr. to criticize the absence of democracy in New York City?
Term limits, though, did just that.
This afternoon Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives appeared on the steps of City Hall to announce they had filed a lawsuit against the city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Speaker Christine Quinn, the Board of Elections and its president as well as the 29 council members who voted to extend term limits from two to three terms.
“This is a unique and amazing cross-section of New Yorkers,” said Thompson. “This issue has brought together Democrats, Republicans and independents.”
They say the suit violates the first and fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, creates a disincentive for citizens to vote and chills the right to political speech.
Though the suit does not name the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board as it was originally expected to do, it does claim the extension of term limits was patently and fundamentally unfair. Siegel and Mastro — who will argue the case in federal court — said the law, which was signed by the mayor on Nov. 3, is a “constitutional evil” that uses the legislative process to keep those in government in power.
The suit names 24 plaintiffs, from politicians to candidates who thought they would be running in open races for City Council seats.
As they were announcing the lawsuit, the mayor casually walked up the steps of City Hall. He waved to the press conference several times.
Soon after that, Siegel said sometimes it’s necessary to fight City Hall.
Mastro said the plaintiffs will be looking to expedite the case, so, if they are successful, the term limits question can be sent back to the voters before the 2009 citywide races.By Courtney Gross on November 10, 2008, 3:59 pm
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