Court grants injunction, putting Metro Nashville Council cut on pause

A three-judge panel ruled the state likely violated a law protecting local governments with its attempt to cut the Metro Nashville Council from 40 to 20 members.

By: - April 10, 2023 4:25 pm
Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Metro Nashville Courthouse. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican legislation to cut the Metro Nashville Council in half was temporarily stopped Monday after a panel of judges ruled the bill likely violated state law.

The three-judge panel overhearing the case between the Metro Nashville government and the State of Tennessee said Nashville was “likely to succeed on the merits” of its argument that state lawmakers violated a provision of Tennessee law known as the home rule.

The home rule prevents state lawmakers from passing bills targeting localities without their consent.

Earlier this year, Republican lawmakers passed legislation to reduce the Metro Nashville Council from 40 to 20 members. The legislation came after the Metro Council blocked the 2024 Republican National Convention from coming to Nashville.

Republicans argued their bill was for government “efficiency” and didn’t specifically target Nashville because it applied to all three metro governments.

But Nashville is the only metro government in Tennessee with more than 20 members, which the judges noted.

“The act… appears designed to restructure the metropolitan council, and only the metropolitan council, to reduce its membership by half,” said the injunction.

The majority of the panel also ruled a separate lawsuit brought forth by a group of Nashville clergy and residents lacked standing.

“We’re still digesting the contents of today’s court’s ruling,” said Davie Tucker, the President of the Nashville Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, in a statement. “But on balance, it appears that this statute has been blocked by the judges and that’s a win for the people of Nashville. On other matters, the fight continues.”

Metro Council Lawsuit order 4-10-23

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Adam Friedman
Adam Friedman

Adam Friedman is a reporter with the Tennessee Lookout. He has a particular love for data and using numbers to explain all kinds of topics. If you have a story idea, he'd love to hear it. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 615-249-8509.