The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office will appeal a federal judge’s order for a recount of votes on the controversial 2014 abortion measure Amendment 1. reports The Tennessean.
“We obviously disagree with the federal court’s decision,” spokesman Harlow Sumerford said. “Simply put, deciding what vote is required to amend the Tennessee Constitution is a matter of state law to be determined by a Tennessee court.”
The appeal effectively puts any potential recount on hold – likely for months as it goes through the appeals process at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, according to Dewey Branstetter, an attorney with Sherrard, Roe, Voigt, Harbison who is representing eight voters seeking the recount. Branstetter said the appeal was not unexpected.
“While we’re not terribly surprised that they would file an appeal, it is disappointing they would continue to litigate this case when (the federal judge) has so clearly determined how this portion of the constitution should be interpreted and how the state’s interpretation would violate our clients constitutional rights,” Branstetter said.
Amendment 1 removed abortion as a right under the state constitution.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp ordered state election officials to recount the vote on the abortion measure, which passed with a 53 majority in 2014. Sharp said the state’s vote counting methods were unfair to those opposed to the amendment and in violation of the U.S. Constitution.