Appeals court upholds TN constitutional amendment on abortion

By a 3-0 vote, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today rejected a legal challenge to the 2014 vote that added an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution dealing with abortion, overturning a lower federal court ruling that called for a recount. The 6th Circuit decision, on the other hand, is in line with a state court ruling.

From a Reuters report:

Circuit Judge David McKeague (who authored the opinion) said opponents of Amendment 1 failed to show how their due process and equal protection rights were harmed by Tennessee’s vote-counting practice, or that their votes were diluted relative to the votes of abortion opponents.

“This is not the ‘exceptional case’ that warrants federal intervention in a lawful state election process,” McKeague wrote.

“Although the subject of abortion rights will continue to be controversial in Tennessee and across our nation, it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people’s 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest,” he added.

… McKeague was appointed to the appeals court by President George W. Bush. The other panel members, Richard Suhrheinrich and Ronald Gilman, were appointed by Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, respectively.

Amendment 1 said, “Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion,” and said that authorized elected officials may “enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion.”

In ordering a recount, then-Chief Judge Kevin Sharp of the federal court in Nashville called Tennessee’s vote-counting practice “fundamentally unfair.” He also said it did not comply with a state constitutional provision that it take into account the number of votes cast for governor.

Note: The full opinion is HERE.

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