Judges block implementation of law cutting Nashville council in half

The Nashville Metro Courthouse on March 13, 2023. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A three-judge panel has blocked the implementation of a new law cutting the size of the Metro Nashville Council in half. The panel is comprised of Nashville Chancellor Pat Moskal, Shelby County Circuit Judge Mary Wagner, and Athens Chancellor Jerri Bryant found the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their constitutional challenge of the measure. Wagner and Bryant are Republicans while Moskal is a Democrat.

Nashville made both practical and constitutional arguments for why the courts should block the bill widely considered to have been enacted in retribution for the liberal city’s refusal to host next year’s Republican presidential convention. According to the lawsuit, there isn’t enough time to draw new districts and prepare election machinery for the vote on the new seats to take place in August.

Wagner and Bryant found the constitution’s home rule protections don’t apply to the overall aim of the bill to set a 20-member cap on the the number of voting members in consolidated governments, but that the timetables for enacting the changes this year or next aren’t doable. Moskal in a partial dissent said the overall act should also be found unconstitutional.


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