Federal Judge refuses to dismiss frivolous lawsuit filed by pro-abortionists against Amendment 1

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp

U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp

One of the most amusing–because it is over-laden with so many layers of hypocrisy–pro-abortion laments is that state governments “waste” so many resources defending the pro-life bills the state has just passed.

You see (for lack of a better word) the logic of the argument. Having passed a law that pro-abortionists take offense at, it is somehow the state’s fault that pro-abortionists are suing.

In other words, the Abortion Industry ought to have in advance a preemptive veto power: if you pass that law, we will sue you up and down the legal ladder. Or, put another way, YOU (the state) made ME (the suddenly fiscally-conscious abortion trade) run to court with their battery of lawyers.

I mention this because abortionists in Tennessee refuse to recognize the voters’ decision last year to add Amendment 1 to the state constitution. Yesterday they got the go-ahead sign from a judge to continue this frivolous challenge, which, of course, is costing the state–meaning the citizens of Tennessee–who knows how much to defend.

As you recall Amendment 1 was an amendment to the state Constitution. The key wording is in the beginning: “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion.”

It was needed because in 2000 the Tennessee Supreme Court found, “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is a vital part of the right to privacy guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.”

U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp refused Wednesday the request of attorneys for the state “to either dismiss the lawsuit or turn it over to the state Supreme Court to consider,” according to Anita Wadhwani of The Tennessean.

Instead the lawsuit, filed by Vanderbilt law professor Tracey George, “who also serves as board chair of Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee and was a coordinator of the Vote No on 1 campaign,” and seven other voters, will go forward.

The lawsuit is a variation of the common complaint we heard over and over from pro-abortion Democrats year– that the “wrong” electorate had voted. Here’s the background.

Passage of Amendment 1 required 50% +one of all those who had voted for governor, a decided disadvantage for proponents. If you voted for governor but did not bother to vote for the Amendment, it was as if you voted “no.”

The lawsuit took this advantage for opponents and turned it on its head. Prof. George et al. argue the only votes that should be counted are of “those who cast ballots in both the governor’s race and on the amendment to determine whether a majority of those casting votes in the governor’s race also cast votes on the abortion amendment,” Wadhwani reported.

They want a recount and if the state can’t figure out who cast ballots in the governor’s race AND Amendment 1, the vote should be invalidated.

Last November we reported on an opinion piece written by an opponent of Amendment 1– an election law attorney in Nashville and a former judicial law clerk for Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Sharon G. Lee– who concluded that, his personal preferences notwithstanding, Amendment 1 had passed.

Daniel Horwitz offered a number of reasons to buttress his argument. Here’s his conclusion

Finally, in Dunn v. Blumstein, the Supreme Court explained that “In decision after decision, this Court has made clear that a citizen has a constitutionally protected right to participate in elections on an equal basis with other citizens in the jurisdiction.” The result that the plaintiffs seek in this case, however — counting only the votes of citizens who participated in the governor’s race, and throwing out everyone else’s — plainly undermines this view. It will be, and should be, rejected accordingly.

Tennessee Right to Life, in responding to Judge Sharp’s refusal to dismiss the lawsuit, said simply

“Tennessee’s voters have spoken, the Legislature has spoken and Tennessee Right to Life continues to be confident that, in the end, common sense policies protecting abortion-vulnerable women, girls and unborn children will be enforced in our state.”