Judge to meet with parties in federal schools case - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Judge to meet with parties in federal schools case

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Federal Judge Samuel "Hardy" Mays, Jr., has scheduled a status conference on Monday, Feb. 25, with all sides in school merger case.

Judge mays has typically heard or read arguments and written a ruling, so there are a number of things he could want to talk about Monday in the private meeting.

The federal put a stop to the progress of municipal school in November 2012 as he declared the laws unconstitutional that allowed the suburbs to start forming municipal schools before the merger.

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The arguments the judge requested and briefs submitted by the city, county, and suburbs argue either for or against municipal schools once the merger is complete in August of this year.

In the meantime, the parties have been meeting in mediation session trying to come to a compromise in advance of the judges ruling, but those talks broke down in early February.

Around the same time, new bills were filed in Nashville that would clear most of the legal hurdles in the way of forming municipal schools.

On Monday he could be interested to see why the mediation sessions broke down, or he could want to talk about the recent legislation filed in Nashville that, if passed, would make half of Shelby County's legal argument void. He may even simply want to see new or different arguments in the legal filings, or he could prepare the parties about an upcoming ruling, or even rule.

Federal judges have wide discretion in their cases.

In light of the recent bills filed in Nashville, Judge Mays is considering Shelby County's argument that the laws that allow municipal schools are too narrow, and only apply to the county. The recent bills filed lift the bans on municipal schools statewide, so the constitutional question is removed.

If these bills pass, they would trump the bills that the court is considering. So, Judge Mays may tell the parties to move on to the resegregation part of the case.

The county is arguing municipal schools would cause segregation in public schools in Shelby County. The suburbs argue their schools are diverse.

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