Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle announced on Thursday that she has decided to retire, opting not to run for reelection.
Lyle, a native Tennessean who attended the University of Tennessee College of Law, has served as a judge for almost three decades; however, many of her recent rulings have frustrated constituents and Tennesseans across the state.
Lyle has received sharp backlash for multiple high-profile decisions. Before the November 2020 election, she ruled that Tennessee must give all of its 4.1 million registered voters the option to cast ballots by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. Many questioned her authority in making this ruling, inspiring State Representative Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) to introduce a resolution to remove her from the bench.
“Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle violated the boundaries between the legislative and judiciary when she attempted to disregard state law and implement her own rules, personal opinions[,] and policies that were in direct contradiction of existing state laws,” Rudd said of her actions.
The complaint from Rudd focused on the fact that the Tennessee General Assembly, who has the power to create election laws for the state, had already rejected legislation expanding absentee by mail voting.
Another decision that frustrated many Tennesseans came from Lyle when she ruled against the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act, a referendum aiming to rescind Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s controversial 34 to 37 percent tax increase. Around 27,000 Nashville residents signed a petition in support of the referendum.
“Metro has continually tried to silence and ignore 27,000 Nashvillians who signed this petition in support of putting some guardrails up on Nashville’s spending addiction that put the city in its current crisis. This property tax hike will do nothing to help our city’s finances; it will only fuel Metro’s reckless spending and taxing proposals,” Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee State Director Tori Venable said of the ruling.
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