published Friday, March 16th, 2012

Lawsuit challenges Tennessee Senate redistricting plan

  • photo
    Tennessee Democrat Bob Tuke
    Photo by Gillian Bolsover

NASHVILLE — A black state legislator from Memphis and others filed suit in Davidson County Chancery Court today challenging the constitutionality of Senate Republicans’ redistricting plan.

Attorney Bob Tuke, a former Tennessee Democratic Party chairman, said the suit argues that majority Republicans disregarded a competing plan from the General Assembly’s Black Caucus that would have split fewer counties when redrawing the 33 Senate districts.

“What we’re seeking is an injunction against this new redistricting and a declaration that it’s unconstional and accordingly should be thrown out,” Tuke said.

He said Republicans split eight counties while the Black Caucus plan splits only five. The Tennessee Constitution prohibits splitting of counties but in modern times courts have allowed the practice if it’s kept at a minimum.

Among the plaintiffs is state Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis. Hardaway, who was thrown into the same district as another black Democrat in the House plan, is weighing a Senate bid.

Named in the suit as defendants in their official capacities are Gov. Bill Haslam, Secretary of State Tré Hargett and State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, who are also Republicans.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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