Mays Denies Motion on CA Commenters

By Bill Dries

Memphis Federal Court Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays has denied a motion to subpoena information from The Commercial Appeal about on line commenters in the newspaper about the schools merger and formation of municipal schools.

Attorneys for the Shelby County Commission sought the information from the newspaper as part of its case against the suburban municipal school districts.

But Mays said it is not relevant.

“The information sought by the commission is not relevant to the underlying issue to be decided and is not an appropriate subject of discovery in this case,” Mays wrote in an order denying the motion posted Thursday, Nov. 15, in the electronic case file.

The motion by the attorneys is part of the preparation for a trial before Mays on federal Constitutional questions scheduled to begin in January.

The issue then will be the commission’s claim that the municipal school districts violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution because the school districts would “racially resegregate” public education in Shelby County.

The commission and its attorneys claimed the information about on-line commenters went to the intent of state legislators and suburban political leaders.

Mays has not yet ruled on claims by the county commission that the laws governing the establishment of the municipal school districts violate the Tennessee Constitution. He heard proof in that part of the court case this past September.

Meanwhile, Mays and attorneys on all sides of the case met Thursday by telephone conference for a second day reportedly to set up a process for mediation of some of the claims in the lawsuit.

Mays reimposed a gag rule Thursday on all sides of the mediation effort.