Tennessee Republican Lawmakers Seek to Remove Davidson County Chancellor for Alleged Judicial Overreach During 2020 Election

Tennessee’s Republican lawmakers are seeking to remove Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle from office. A proposed resolution would establish temporary committees in both the House and Senate to consider Lyle’s removal. An overwhelming majority of the Republican side of the House has co-sponsored the bill, with the exception of State Representatives Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), Johnny Garrett (R-Goodlettsville), Sam Whitson (R-Franklin), Brandon Ogles (R-Franklin), Michael Curcio (R-Dickson), David Byrd (R-Waynesboro), and Patsy Hazlewood (R-Signal Mountain).

State Representative Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) proposed the resolution last week. It doesn’t have a companion in the Senate yet. In the preamble, Rudd recounted how last year’s General Assembly rejected legislation expanding absentee by mail voting. He explained that Lyle subsequently altered state election forms in June to expand access to absentee by mail voting. Rudd also noted that the state constitution grants the General Assembly the power to remove a judge from office with a two-thirds vote. 

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Law Criminalizing Use of False Language in Campaign Literature Ruled Unconstitutional by Davidson County Judge

A group that called a political candidate “literally Hitler” in a flyer won its case challenging a law that criminalizes the use of “false language” in campaign literature. The judge presiding over the case, which was heard Thursday, called the law “incompatible with the First Amendment.”

Tennesseans for Sensible Elections Laws (TSEL), an organization that describes itself as “a nonpartisan group of concerned citizens who care about protecting Tennessee’s democratic process,” was subject to criminal penalties for a political flier claiming that Representative Bruce Griffey was “literally Hitler.”

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Judge: Tennessee Must Allow Vote by Mail for All Amid Virus

Tennessee must give all of its 4.1 million registered voters the option to cast ballots by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, a judge ruled Thursday.

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled that the state’s limits on absentee voting during the pandemic constitute “an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” The judge wrote that any eligible voter can get an absentee ballot to avoid contracting or passing on COVID-19 in the “upcoming elections during the pendency of pandemic circumstances.”

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