Majority of Nashville Metro Council Wants Tennessee Supreme Court to Accept Special Election Date Appeal

Twenty-one members of the Nashville Metro Council signed a letter to Metro Legal Director Jon Cooper on Tuesday asking him to request of the Tennessee Supreme Court that it “reach down” and hear the plaintiff’s appeal of a Chancery Court Judge’s decision to hold the special mayoral election on August 2, rather than May 1.

The Tennessee Star reported that earlier this month the Davidson County Election Commission ignored the plain meaning of the law and voted 3 to 2 to hold the special mayoral election on August 2, rather than May 2.

Last week, attorney Jamie Hollin filed an appeal of that decision on behalf of his client, mayoral candidate Ludye Wallace in Davidson Couny Chancery Court.

Later that week, Judge Claudia Bonnyman ruled against Wallace and in favor of the Davidson County Election Commission, and confirmed August 2 as the date for the special election.

The Star subsequently reported that, according to Arizona State University Law School Professor Judith M. Stinson, a national expert on “dicta” and legal holdings, if Judge Bonnyman’s decision was based on “dicta”–that is, facts cited in an opinion that are not directly relevant to the legal holding of the court–the legitimacy of the special election and the entire judicial system in Tennessee would come into question.

Numerous attorneys argued that Judge Bonnyman’s decision was, in fact, based on “dicta.”

On Friday, Hollin filed an emergency appeal of the case on behalf of his client to the Tennessee Supreme Court.

“In a sign that the Supreme Court might take up the case, the court has asked Metro to provide a timeline of all dates necessary to adjudicate the case, including deadlines for mailing of absentee and military ballots, voter registration, and early voting,” The Tennessean reported.

The Tennessean added these details:

“Council members point to cost concerns if the election is forced in May instead of August, which they say would have “wide-ranging implications for all our departments.”

“We take no position on the merits of the case but want the Supreme Court to grant the request for expedited review,” the council members’ letter reads. “It is of paramount important to have this legal question resolved as quickly as possible, and with absolute certainty.

“Should the Supreme Court’s verdict force a special election, a delayed decision may result in Metro being impelled to incur the added expense and inconvenience of a second election in May, whereas a swift determination may allow such an election to be held concurrently with the already-scheduled May 1 election.”


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