The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld term limits for Knox County officials.
[UPDATE: Running reports may be seen at R. Neal's blog. The ruling can be read here.]
The Court's ruling holds that term limits apply to all Knox County government officials except court clerks and school board members.
[UPDATE: The Sentinel reports that the Knox Law Director has clarified that the ruling also does not apply to judges.]
Term limits were overwhelmingly approved by Knox voters in a 1994 charter referendum. A State Attorney General's Opinion rendered shortly thereafter said that term limits were invalid.
As a result of the AG opinion, Knox County simply ignored the term limits provision of its charter for over 10 years and no one tested it in court.
The Tennessee Supreme Court said today that the charter provision is valid and effective.
Applying term limits will knock many longtime Knox officials out of office---the most prominent of which is Sheriff Tim Hutchison.
I am pleased with this decision. I support term limits.
Term limits may cause the loss of some good public officials. However, the loss of a few good officials to term limits is outweighed, in my opinion, by the fact that term limits reduce the accumulation of excessive power in a few hands.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Term limits help restrict the growth of power in the hands of public officials, and so help reduce the corruption that all too frequently accompanies the accumulation of political power.
The Tennessee Waltz is a perfect example of what happens to far too many longtime elected officials when they become too powerful and choose to sell their power and influence to the highest bidder.