Black clergy group, council members and others file suit against state for Metro Council cut – Tennessee Lookout

Metro Nashville Council’s minority caucus members, the leader of a Black clergy group and several other prominent Nashvillians filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a Republican-led law to reduce the size of the city’s council from 40 to 20.

The suit — filed in Davidson County Chancery Court — is similar to another filed by the city’s legal department earlier this month and comes one day after the state filed a response arguing Metro Nashville didn’t have the necessary standing to sue because it isn’t a person.

Both lawsuits center on the legal concept that the state can’t pass legislation to target a single city without its consent and that the arbitrary cut would disproportionally impact Nashville’s minority communities.

Davie Tucker, the President of the Nashville Interdenominational Ministers Fellowship, is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Last month, Tucker wrote a letter asking lawmakers to spike the council cut bill because of its impact on minority representation in Nashville’s government or face a potential lawsuit.

Tucker initially threatened a federal civil rights legal challenge, but a lawsuit on those grounds could only be filed once the law went into effect and its impact measured.

The other council members in the suit are Delishia Porterfield, Sandra Sepulveda and Zulfat Suara. Other names on the suit include Pastor Judy Cummings, former Tennessee Commissioner of Finance and Administration Dave Goetz, community organizer Alma Sanford and Metro Council candidate Quin Segall.

The Metro Nashville Council has 11 minority council members, equal to a little over a quarter of the members.

Metro officials also had concerns about the legality of extending council members’ terms an additional year and are seeking a temporary injunction to stop the law from going into effect.

The hearing is set for April 4 in Davidson County Chancery Court. Both lawsuits could potentially merge at the behest of a judge.

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