Akilah Moore et al. v. William Lee et al.

Akilah Moore et al. v. William Lee et al.
M2022-00434-SC-RDO-CV

The Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the reapportionment plan for the districts of the Tennessee Senate that the Tennessee General Assembly enacted after the 2020 census.  Specifically, the Plaintiffs alleged that the reapportionment plan violates article II, section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution because it fails to consecutively number the four Senatorial districts included in Davidson County.  The Plaintiffs requested declaratory and injunctive relief.  The trial court granted a temporary injunction enjoining the Defendants from enforcing or giving any effect to the boundaries of the Senatorial districts.  The trial court provided the General Assembly with fifteen days to remedy the defect pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 20-18-105, stating that if the defect was not remedied, the trial court would impose an interim plan for the 2022 election.  Tennessee Code Annotated section 2-5-101(a)(1) sets the deadline for filing candidate nominating petitions as the first Thursday in April at noon.  Thus, the trial court further extended the statutory April 7, 2022 filing deadline for Senatorial candidates until May 5, 2022.  The Defendants filed an application for extraordinary appeal in the Court of Appeals pursuant to Rule 10 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.  This Court assumed jurisdiction over the case pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 16-3-201(d)(3).  We conclude that the trial court erred by granting the injunction because it failed to adequately consider the harm the injunction will have on our election officials who are detrimentally impacted by the extension of the candidate filing deadline, as well as the public interest in ensuring orderly elections and avoiding voter confusion.  We vacate the injunction and remand to the trial court.  

Authoring Judge: 
Chief Justice Roger A. Page
Originating Judge: 
Chancellor Russell T. Perkins, Judge J. Michael Sharp and Chancellor Steven W. Maroney
Date Filed: 
Wednesday, April 13, 2022