Lawsuit Puts Amendment 1 Before Federal Judge

Posted at 8:48 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-05 22:01:57-04

You may remember the campaign ads but the battle over an abortion amendment which passed two years ago is far from over.

The measure gives lawmakers more power to restrict abortions. In November 2014, the amendment passed with 53 percent of the vote but plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the State want a recount.

"What they were trying to do was to lower the number of people who voted for Governor so a smaller number of votes would be needed to reach a majority," plaintiff, Ellen Wright Clayton said. 

Each side was given an hour to argue its case in front of a federal judge, Tuesday.  

Plaintiff's argued the State's method for counting the votes in that election violates the federal constitution and that supporters of Amendment One manipulated the outcome by advertising and encouraging voters to not vote in the Governor's race, but vote for Amendment One. Nearly 33,000 ballots were cast in favor of Amendment One, those voters did not cast a ballot in the Gubernatorial race.

They're facts dismissed by citizens like June Griffin, who filed a motion to intervene in the case. "Not out a concern for abortion particularly but out of concern that the voter's right not be overturned," said Griffin. 

The State, however, argued the votes were not diluted and the State has operated this way since 1834. The State also said the Plaintiff's case was based on speculation and there were other reasons why voters decided not to vote for Governor.

However, Clayton disagrees saying voter's constitutional rights were violated, "both under the Tennessee constitution and also under the federal constitution because it dilutes our vote," said Clayton. 

It could be awhile before the judge makes a ruling on this case.