CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WRCB-TV) - In the words of Chattanooga City Attorney Mike McMahan, Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth has telegraphed that the City Council should be a party in Littlefield v. Election Commission. This move, it was said, would help move the case along and keep Mayor Ron Littlefield from filing suit against his own city should he lose the case. Members voted 6-3 Tuesday night to do just that. The approval came after a protracted and spirited debate over who should represent the body and what position that person should take in their favor.
That discussion carried over from the afternoon's committee meeting. Questions were raised about whether or not McMahan could appropriately serve on this matter having been one of the authors of the City Charter language now at issue. He was ultimately assigned the duty over the option of hiring outside counsel.
The other major issue was what position the City Attorney would take in the case. Councilman Peter Murphy, Chairman of the Legal & Legislative Committee, presented three possibilities. He could argue: "The City Charter is correct." He could argue: "The Charter is correct except where superceded or properly preempted." Or, he could simply join the proceedings with a posture of, "Judge, tell us what the law says." The council chose the third option.
All parties will be in court on February 10. The recall election is scheduled for August of 2012.