There’s stubborn, there’s mulishly stubborn, and then there’s Farmers Branch.
The City Council is not ready to give up its fight to ban immigrants in the U.S. illegally from renting in the city.
The council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court its rental ordinance’s latest failure in court.
The chamber audience erupted in applause — with some jumping from their seats — following the vote.
Council members Jeff Fuller, Ben Robinson and Harold Froehlich voted to appeal. Ana Reyes and Kirk Connally voted against it.
Before the vote, the city’s outside attorney, Michael Jung, agreed to handle the appeal at no cost, at Fuller’s request. Fuller noted that $4 million had already been paid to Jung and his Strasburger & Price law firm.
“I want to stop spending,” Fuller said.
The fight has cost the city about $6 million in legal fees for court suits, and more than $2 million in bills were expected to be presented to the courts for the city to pay by the law firms that had prevailed against the city. But the decision to appeal puts that on hold, pending the outcome by the nation’s highest court.
William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel & Brewer Storefront and counsel for some of the plaintiffs, said in a prepared statement that the City Council “seems incapable of reading the handwriting on the wall — this ordinance is unconstitutional.”
“It is unfortunate that the Farmers Branch City Council has decided to continue a pursuit that many view as costly and ill-advised.”
Some lessons just have to be learned the hard way. It was just a month ago that the Fifth Circuit spiked the latest appeal from Farmers Branch, this time with the full court reconsidering the original three-judge panel ruling in light of the SCOTUS decision on Arizona’s “papers, please” law. I have no idea why Farmers Branch City Council think SCOTUS might be willing to take this question up again, but I suppose it at least offers them the opportunity to inconvenience the law firm that’s beaten them like a pinata every step of the way. The good news is that the FB Council is now 40% less stupid with the addition of Ana Reyes and Kirk Connally, but clearly there’s still work to do to bring them into the light.