This court power freed Meek Mill. Could it make Philly share its Amazon HQ2 bid?
Megan Shannon and Offit Kurman Mentioned in The Inquirer
By: Jacob Adelman | Aug 22, 2018
A Philadelphia-based lawyer wants Pennsylvania's Supreme Court to make the city share details of its bid to host Amazon's planned second headquarters, using the same power it tapped to free rapper Meek Mill from prison.
Lawyer Megan Shannon filed an application for "extraordinary relief" with the state's high court earlier this month, arguing that if the court doesn't intervene, taxpayers won't know what the company is being offered until it's too late.
"By keeping its Amazon bid secret, the city is denying its citizens the right to fully participate in the democratic process," Shannon wrote in the application. "If Philadelphia is selected, its citizens will be bound by an offer that was made in secret with blatant disregard for any public opinion."
The state Supreme Court's extraordinary relief provision, also known as its "King's Bench" power, allows it to take control of cases being considered by other courts in the state when they involve issues of "immediate public importance."
In Mill's case, the Supreme Court intervened in a Common Pleas Court case against the rapper because of questions the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office expressed about the credibility of his arresting officer.
But it's very rare, in practice, for the court to use its extraordinary relief powers, said Mary Levy, a Temple University law professor specializing in appellate cases.
The order freeing Mill from prison in April was only the second of 57 King's Bench petitions that the Supreme Court granted over the prior two years, according to an analysis at the time by the Legal Intelligencer newspaper.
"It's definitely a long shot," Levy said of Shannon's bid.
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