Amendment 1

Tracey E. George et al v. Haslam et al

November 7, 2014:  Planned Parenthood board chair, Tracey E. George and other Planned Parenthood board members file a federal lawsuit claiming that voter rights were violated and that ballots were not accurately counted in the November 4, 2014 election.  The suit asks for a recount of the votes or to nullify the results. 

Yes on 1 responded and called the lawsuit one more example of pro-abortion activists refusing to trust the "common sense and compassion" of Tennesseans who voted to approve Amendment 1 on November 4.

"Amendment 1 was passed with a decisive majority of Tennesseans casting a vote to approve the language," said Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life and a coordinator for Yes on 1.  "Even if you wrongly discount those who may have voted for Amendment 1 but not in the Governor's race, there is still a margin of almost 20,000 votes in favor of the amendment."

"Rather than accept defeat, Planned Parenthood and the nation's pro-abortion movement are willing to disenfranchise Tennessee voters in order to ensure that Tennessee remains an abortion destination with uninspected, unlicensed abortion facilities," said Harris.  "That was unacceptable on election day and it remains so days after the passage of Amendment 1."

Plaintiffs: Tracey E. George, Teresa M. Halloran, Meryl Rice, Mary Howard Hayes, Kenneth T. Whalum, Jr., Jan Liff, Ellen Wright Clayton, & Deborah Webster-Clair

Defendants: William E. Haslam, Governor, Tre Hargett, Secretary of State, Mark Goins, Commissioner of Elections, and the Election Commission of Tennessee

District Court Judge: Kevin Sharp

More information about Judge Sharp: Vanderbilt Law School article on confirmation & US Senator Lamar Alexander speaks on floor of US Senate in favor of confirming Judge Sharp.

Status: Middle Tennessee Federal District Court Case No. 3:14-cv-02182. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 16-5563. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments were held on August 2.  Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rules unanimously to REVERSE the District Court decision by Judge Sharp and uphold Amendment 1. Planned Parenthood attorneys request the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear and rule on the case. 

Sixth Circuit Court Judges: Ronald Gilman, David McKeague, and Richard Suhrheinrich

Legal Documents:

Tracey E. George et al v. Haslam et al complaint

Summary of Positions of Each Side, submitted 02/10/2016

Judge Kevin Sharp's Order, submitted 04/22/2016

TN Attorney General's File for Appeal, submitted 04/26/2016

TN Attorney General's Motion to Stay Recount Order, submitted 05/09/2016

TN Attorney General's Brief to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, submitted 10/11/2016

Yes on 1 Ballot Committee's Protect the People's Vote Friend-of-the-Court Brief, submitted 10/14/2016

Plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) Brief, submitted 11/10/2016

TN Attorney General's Response to Plaintiffs' Brief, submitted 11/28/2016

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judgment, submitted 01/09/2018

Plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) Petition for Hearing & Ruling by Full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, submitted 01/23/2018

Plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) Writ of Certiorari to US Supreme Court, submitted 07/13/2018


November 7, 2014: Eight Tennessee voters, led by Planned Parenthood of Middle & East Tennessee Board Chair, Tracy George, file lawsuit

December 11, 2014: Tennessee Attorney General files motion to dismiss.

July 1, 2015: Judge Kevin Sharp denies motion to dismiss law suit.

September 4, 2015: Plaintiff's attorneys subpoena Yes on 1 Ballot Committee & Tennessee Right to Life

April 5, 2016: Bench trial held by Judge Kevin Sharp

April 22, 2016: Judge Kevin Sharp orders a recount of ballots cast on Amendment 1 and rules the state's method of counting ballots for constitutional amendments violates the federal constitution. 

April 26, 2016: Tennessee Attorney General Files for Appeal to Sixth Circuit Court

May 9, 2016: Tennessee Attorney General Files Motion to Stay Recount during the Appeal

June 7, 2016: Judge Kevin Sharp stays his ruling ordering a recount of ballots cast for governor and Amendment 1.  The stay remains in effect until the Sixth Circuit Court makes a ruling on the appeal.

October 11, 2016: Tennessee Attorney General submits appeal brief to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

October 14, 2016: Yes on 1 Ballot Committee files the Protect the People's Vote Friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

November 10, 2016: Plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) file reply brief to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

November 28, 2016: Tennessee Attorney General files response to Plaintiffs' brief.

June 7, 2017: Oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday, August 2 at 9:00 a.m. (edt).

August 2, 2017: Oral arguments held, click here to listen to a recording of the hearing.

January 9, 2018: Sixth Circuit Court orders that the district court's judgment be reversed, vacating the district court's order.  Judge David McKeague writing the opinion states, "it is time for uncertainty surrounding the people's 2014 approval and ratification of Amendment 1 to be put to rest....The district court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs on their due process and equal protection claims must therefore be REVERSED."

January 23, 2018: Plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) request the full Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (en banc) to rehear  and rule on the case.

February 28, 2018: Sixth Circuit of Court of Appeals denies plaintiff's (Tracey E. George et al) petition for a full hearing (en banc) review.

July 13, 2018: Plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

October 1, 2018: U.S. Supreme Court denies appeal by plaintiffs (Tracey E. George et al) and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision stands.  The case is officially over and Amendment 1 is upheld.

Updates:  Please visit our Update on Amendment 1 Lawsuits for the latest information.


Tre Hargett & Mark Goins v. Tracey E George et al

September 1, 2015: Tennessee Secretary of State, Tre Hargett and Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins file a lawsuit in Williamson County Chancery Court seeking to declare that the manner in which the state tabulates votes for constitutional amendments is correct under the applicable provisions of the Tennessee Constitution.

Plaintiffs: Tre Hargett, Secretary of State and Mark Goins, Coordinator of Elections

Defendants: Planned Parenthood Board Chair, Tracey E. George, Ellen Wright Clayton, Deborah Webster-Clair, Kenneth T. Whalum, Jr., Meryl Rice, Jan Liff, Teresa M. Halloran, and Mary Howard Hayes

Judge: Michael W. Binkley

Status: Case No. 44460, Trial Date for Summary Judgment was April 8, 2016

Legal Documents:

Tre Hargett et al v. Tracey George et al complaint

State of Tennessee Motion for Summary Judgment 01.27.2016

Judge Michael Binkley Decision in Favor of the State of Tennessee 04.21.2016

Yes on 1 Campaign's Motion to Intervene


September 1, 2015: Tennessee Attorney General files complaint in Williamson County Chancery Court

October 30, 2015: Defendants led by Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee Board Chair, Tracey E. George, argue in court for their motion to dismiss the law suit.

December 9, 2015: Judge Michael Binkley denies motion to dismiss law suit.

January 27, 2016: Tennessee Attorney General requests summary judgment.

April 7, 2016: Bench trial held by Judge Michael Binkley

April 21, 2016: Judge Michael Binkley rules that the state's process for counting votes for Constitutional Amendments does not violate Tennessee's Constitution.  View Judge Binkley's ruling here.

April 29, 2016: Yes on 1 Ballot Committee files motion to intervene.

May 19, 2016: Judge Binkley denies motion to allow Yes on 1 Ballot Committee to intervene.  Orders that his decision applies to pass elections, including November 2014, as well as future elections.

Media Coverage: Fight over TN abortion measure continues in two courts - The Tennessean, December 29, 2015.