Tennessee’s Office of the Attorney General Offers Strong Defense of Pro-Life Amendment

U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Considers Merits of Pro-Abortion Challenge To Amendment 1

Editor’s note. The following comes from Tennessee Right to Life. NRLC’s state affiliate. Pro-abortionists are challenging the outcome of the vote on Amendment 1, which passed 53% to 47%. Under the Tennessee Constitution the universe of voters who count for purposes of ratifying a proposed constitutional amendment is a majority not of all voters voting but a majority of all those voting for governor. Pro-abortion plaintiffs argued this was discriminatory.

Tennessee Right to Life expresses profound gratitude to the Office of Tennessee’s Attorney General for strongly defending the 2014 election outcome on pro-life Amendment 1.

In particular, Sarah Campbell, special assistant to the Attorney General, was well prepared and indefatigable last week when arguing that the state’s manner of counting votes on Amendment 1 properly followed the process laid forth by the Tennessee Constitution.

“Tennessee did exactly what it had done in prior elections, exactly what it told voters it was going to do and exactly what the constitution says,” Campbell told the 3-judge panel who heard oral arguments in the Planned Parenthood challenge of pro-life Amendment 1.

“There was no basis for the federal court to intervene,” she said, adding that former federal judge Kevin Sharp’s pro-abortion ruling last year ordering a recount of ballots “infringes on Tennessee’s sovereignty.”

Campbell was joined at the counsel table by Attorney General Senior Counsel Janet Klinefelter which presented a striking contrast to the all-male team of pro-abortion lawyers, led by former Tennessee Bar President Bill Harbison.

Harbison sought to argue that the state’s manner of counting votes on Amendment 1 was discriminatory and somehow favored pro-life voters because, according to Harbison, pro-abortion voters were not allowed the same “strategic” opportunity to influence the outcome of the election.

In response, Clinton-appointed Judge Ron Gilman asked Harbison “”Wouldn’t it be compelled voting if you have to vote for governor to have your [amendment] vote count?”

Harbison seemed to agree, acknowledging “tension” interpreting Tennessee’s state’s voting requirements. He concluded by calling efforts in support of Amendment 1 “tainted and fundamentally unfair.”

The small courtroom was filled with pro-life advocates in support of Amendment 1 and several pro-abortion plaintiffs including former Planned Parenthood Board Chair Tracey George. Justices took the case, Tracey George et al v. Tre Hargett et al. under advisement and no time table for a decision is provided. Tennessee Right to Life and “Yes on 1” coordinated a Friend of the Court Brief defending the right of Pro-life Tennesseans to have their votes counted on Amendment 1. 8,850 voters signed on to the brief.

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