Four years and some $350,000 later, the argument over the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro appears to be over – at least the fight over public notice. The U.S. Supreme Court refused this week to hear a case brought by local residents who contended, in part, that Rutherford County failed to provide adequate notice in 2010 for a regional planning commission meeting when the site plan for the mosque was to be considered. County planners approved the proposal, and 14 residents responded with a lawsuit to block the mosque from being constructed and occupied at its Veals Road site off Bradyville Pike. Since then, Rutherford County legal fees totaling $351,623 have piled up, according to the county finance department.
Chancellor Robert Corlew initially ruled in favor of mosque opponents in 2012, determining that the county violated the Tennessee Open Meetings act by failing to give proper notice. He said the county should hold another hearing and consider the matter again after giving proper notice. The county appealed the decision.
But before that was heard, the Becket Fund and the U.S. attorney general’s office filed a federal lawsuit contending that the ICM’s federal rights were being violated. A federal judge ruled in the mosque’s favor and overturned an order to stop work on the ICM and the building was occupied.
A federal cause of action remains pending, but it appears to be moot based on the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case.
SOURCE: Sam Stockard, Murfreesboro Post