As expected, District Judge Janice Clark ruled today that I do not have standing under law to challenge the legality of the partial annexation of The Mall of Louisiana by the Metro Council (Jenkins v. City of Baton Rouge).
She made this ruling despite the clear, unambiguous language of the East Baton Rouge Plan of Government, which says in Section 1.09 that “any citizen of the city or the area proposed to be added thereto” has standing to file suit to challenge an annexation.
Mary Olive Pierson, contract attorney for the City of Baton Rouge, spent 3 and a half hours attempting to prove that I do not have an “interest” in the outcome of the annexation. The city made its case personal as to me. But they were really saying that NO CITIZEN of the City of Baton Rouge has standing to challenge this illegal annexation.
As the moving party, claiming I had no right of action in the case, the City of Baton Rouge had the burden of proof at this hearing. But Ms. Pierson failed to prove her case on that point.
Yet, whether I have some special “interest” is really irrelevant in view of the clear language of Section 1.09 of the Plan of Government. In this parish, you don’t have to make a convoluted case that you are an “interested” citizen. The Plan of Government asks only one question: Are you a citizen of the city? If so, you have the right to file suit and question the legality of an annexation.
Think of the ramifications of this decision. What difference does it make what the Constitution says or what the law says? If no one has standing to sue to force government to live by the law, then the Constitution and law mean nothing, and we will become a completely lawless society.
I have repeatedly said that the Metro Council and the City-Parish government are becoming “lawless,” and their position in this case is another example of that. The City of Baton Rouge is fighting not only to protect the illegal annexation of parts of the Mall but they are also fighting to prevent the courts from reviewing the legality of the annexation by challenging a citizen’s right to sue to question that illegal action.
At the end of hearing, the City of Baton Rouge stipulated that I am indeed a citizen of the City of Baton Rouge! Hallelujah! That is the only fact the Court of Appeal needs to know. We intend to file our appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeal within five days.