Lawsuit challenges Tennessee Senate redistricting plan

Lawsuit challenges Tennessee Senate redistricting plan

March 16th, 2012 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

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.