Judge denies motion to alter ruling in Jackson mayor veto case

Special Appointed Judge Larry Roberts reviews exhibits submitted in the Jackson City Council's...
Special Appointed Judge Larry Roberts reviews exhibits submitted in the Jackson City Council's case against Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.(WLBT)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:13 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has likely lost another round in his battle to veto a council no vote.

An attorney representing the Jackson City Council said Judge Larry Roberts has denied Lumumba’s request to alter the final opinion handed down in the council’s case against him.

At the heart of the matter is whether the mayor could veto a negative vote of the council.

The council filed suit in Hinds County Chancery Court in May seeking to answer that question after the mayor vetoed the council’s rejection of an emergency waste-hauling contract with Richard’s Disposal.

On July 8, Roberts ruled that the mayor could not veto a negative vote of the council. And on July 15, he handed down a written ruling stating the same.

This week, Lumumba filed a motion asking Roberts to alter the ruling, saying there were additional findings of fact and conclusions of law that would require the judge to alter his order.

The judge disagreed, saying both parties agreed previously that there were “no genuine issues of fact,” and that the court was only deciding the case on the matter of the law.

In his initial argument, the mayor pointed to two state statutes that he said gave him the authority to veto a negative vote.

Those code sections include 21-8-17, which gives the mayor power to veto ordinances adopted by the council, and 21-8-47, which defines any action of the council as an ordinance. His argument is that a no vote is an official action and therefore an ordinance that can be vetoed.

Roberts, though, said those rules must also be read along with a Jackson city ordinance, which states that “no action of the city council shall be considered adopted unless it receives the affirmative of that portion of the council dictated by state law.”

Lumumba was not immediately available for comment.

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