This was unexpected.
Last November, Houston voters approved an amendment to the City Charter that changed the length and maximum number of terms elected officials can serve.
The lawsuit by Phillip Paul Bryant alleges the language on the ballot tricked voters into thinking they were voting for limiting terms, when they actually extended them.
But the city says the suit should be dismissed because the plaintiff missed the deadline to deliver the citation by one day.
“It sounds like the city has a good argument,” Matthew Festa, professor at the South Texas College of Law, says. “And as much as we don’t want important issues to be resolved by technicalities, those are the rules of the game.”
Kevin Fulton, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff, says they are looking at the city’s argument and possible case law in their favor.
See here for the background. This is the only story on this that I have seen, and it’s not exactly clear on what deadline was missed, when the judge may consider this argument by the city, and any other details that may be relevant. As such, I’m a wee bit hesitant to put much emphasis on what may turn out to be a minor technicality that quickly gets smoothed over. If there is something to it, we’ll find out soon enough.
All that said, I’m ambivalent at best about this change to term limits – as you know, I voted No and I have stated several times since then that I think the effect of this change will be way more extensive than we currently know – but I’m also generally opposed to lawsuits that challenge the result of elections like this, especially when the argument is that the voters were too stupid to know what they were voting on. If this lawsuit winds up getting tossed because the attorneys for the plaintiffs were too incompetent to follow the rules in submitting their paperwork, it’ll be pretty damn funny.