TN ATTORNEY GENERAL APPEALS PRO-ABORTION RULING TO 6TH CIRCUIT
"We obviously disagree with the federal court's decision...Simply put, deciding what vote is required to amend the Tennessee Constitution is a matter of state law to be determined by a Tennessee Court." Harlow Sumerford, spokesman for Attorney General's Office
Tennessee Right to Life expresses gratitude to the many public officials who are working tirelessly to defend the outcome of Amendment 1 and the right of Tennesseans to cast their votes according to their conscience. In particular, pro-life Tennesseans owe a debt of gratitude to Governor Bill Haslam, Attorney General Herbert Slatery, Deputy Attorney General Janet Kleinfelter, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins and state Senator Randy McNally for making defense of the election a true priority.
Tuesday afternoon it was announced that the state is appealing the wrong ruling issued last Friday by federal Judge Kevin Sharp. Sharp ordered election officials to count only those votes for or against the amendment that were cast by voters who also voted in the governor's race. Other pro-life votes in favor of Amendment 1 are to be thrown out, according to Sharp's ruling.
Federal Judge Threatens to Disenfranchise Pro-Life Voters
Judge Kevin Sharp issues ruling singling out Amendment 1, Leaves others intact
Nashville (April 25, 2016)---Just a day after a state court judge ruled in favor of the state's process for counting and ratifying votes on proposed amendments to the state constitution, a federal judge has ordered a recount of ballots on pro-life Amendment 1 and declared that some votes in support of the amendment be thrown out. At question is the interpretation of Article XI, Section 3 of the state Constitution which now places state and federal judges favoring different readings of the same clause.
On Thursday, Williamson County Circuit County Judge Michael Binkley, sitting as Chancellor, ruled that there is no constitutional restriction or precondition on the right of a citizen to vote for or against a constitutional amendment and also voting in the gubernatorial election.
On Friday, U.S. Federal District Court Judge Kevin Sharp countered by ordering a recount of the Amendment 1 votes and affirming the arguments of Planned Parenthood plaintiffs that the manner of counting votes, specifically on Amendment 1, violates undue process and equal protections clauses of the U.S. Constitution. As such, Sharp has ordered state election officials to prepare a timetable for a recount of the votes on Amendment 1.
State Court Upholds Outcome of Amendment 1
Circuit Court Judge Michael Binkley Rules Against Planned Parenthood claims
Nashville (April 21, 2016)---Pro-life voters were handed a victory late Thursday as a state court judge ruled in favor of a motion for summary judgment brought by Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins. Hargett and Goins sought clarification from the court as to whether or not the process for counting votes and ratification of a voter-approved amendment were in violation of the Tennessee Constitution. Judge Michael Binkley ruled in favor of the state's process and dismissed pro-abortion claims that the process favored pro-life supporters of Amendment 1 while violating the rights of voters opposed to the pro-life amendment.
In response, the state's leading pro-life organization issued the following: "Tennessee Right to Life shares the view that the historic method of counting the votes and ratifying the results on Amendment 1 was followed in the exact way as every other amendment approved by the voters of our state," said Brian Harris, president of the organization. "Planned Parenthood is trying to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of pro-life Tennesseans simply because they dislike the outcome of the election. That's neither right nor fair," said Harris.