(The Center Square) – Appointments to Asheville’s Human Relations Commission will move forward after a judge denied an emergency restraining order.
Five white residents sued the city over the appointment process they say discriminated against them based on race. Their motion filed last week for an emergency restraining order and injunction would have prevented the City Council from using the process to fill vacancies on the commission at next Tuesday’s meeting.
Judge Martin Reidinger also rejected the city’s motion to dismiss.
“In order to seek the extraordinary remedy of preliminary injunctive relief, the Plaintiffs must show that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claims and that they are also likely to suffer irreparable harm in the interim period absent the requested injunction,” Reidinger wrote. “Even assuming that the Plaintiffs could demonstrate that they were likely to prevail on their claims, the Plaintiffs have failed to show that they will be irreparably harmed absent preliminary injunctive relief.”
City officials have denied the discrimination claims in the lawsuit.
The 15-member commission established by the city in 2018 aims to “promote and improve human relations and achieve equality among all citizens in the city by carrying out the city’s human relations program,” initially with numerical racial quotas, according to the lawsuit.
The quotas were later removed when a city attorney and consultant explained they violate state and federal law, but were replaced with racial and demographic categories that effectively exclude white residents that do not fit into one.