NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WRKN) — A three-judge panel has granted a stay of the “Metro Council Reduction Act,” preventing Metro Council from having to immediately pass new maps in order to have a reduced council size prior to the August elections this year.
Chancellors Jerry S. Bryant and Patricia Head Moskal and Judge Mary L. Wagner issued the ruling Monday afternoon, stating Metro Nashville was “likely to succeed on the merits” of their case against the state’s enacting of the law, which requires the Council to reduce its members by at least half.
The law was signed by Gov. Bill Lee within an hour of its passage on March 9, starting the clock on a 30-day window for the Metro Planning Department to create brand new district maps for Metro Nashville-Davidson County. With the ruling, the panel agreed with Metro’s position that it would be better to maintain the status quo while the legal challenge worked its way through the court system.
“We are grateful that the court issued an injunction based on its unanimous finding that Metro is likely to succeed on our claim that the Legislature violated the Constitution by changing the rules for Metro alone in the middle of an election,” said Metro Legal Director Wally Dietz.
According to the ruling, Metro would “suffer irreparable harm as a result of its constitutional injury,” and the “balancing of harm weighs in favor of issuing an injunction” against enforcement of the law. Additionally, the Court found “there is a compelling public interest in preserving the integrity of the Metro election process that is already underway.”
“I am grateful that the court protected the integrity of an election process that has already begun,” Mayor John Cooper said on Twitter. “The people of Nashville should dictate how our city is governed, as they did when they formed Metro sixty years ago.”
While the Court granted the injunction for Metro Nashville, the individual plaintiffs—David Tucker, Delishia Porterfield, Judy Cummings, Dave Goetz, Alma Sanford, Quin Evans Segall, Sandra Sepulvada and Zulfat Suara—whose case was consolidated with Metro’s legal action by the Court, were determined to lack standing.
For now, the law is on pause, and Metro Planning Staff can stop work on creating new district maps.