|Legal Opinion: |
Text of Document: April 8, 1994
Your question, communicated to me through Ken Joines, is whether freeholder requirements for running for municipal office are legal. The answer is no.
Freeholder requirements with respect to general purpose governments, and even of boards and commissions that only make reorganization recommendations to city and county governments, have been held by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a large number of other federal and state courts, to violate the U.S. Constitution. The principal U.S. Supreme Court cases on that point are Turner v. Fouche, 396 U.S. 346, 24 L. Ed.2d 567, 90 S. Ct. 532 (1970) and Quinn v. Millsap, 491 U.S. 95, 105 L. Ed.2d 74, 109 S. Ct. 2324 (1989). The freeholder requirement found in your Municipal Charter [Article III, Section 2] is void and should be ignored.
I will be glad to provide you with appropriate cases in this area if you need or want them.
Sidney D. Hemsley
Senior Law Consultant