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Case Name Johnson v. Bredesen VR-TN-0067
Docket / Court 3:08-cv-00187 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Election/Voting Rights
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On February 25, 2008, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division. Plaintiffs are all Tennessee residents and convicted felons. Plaintiffs sought to invalidate those portions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-29-202 that ... read more >
On February 25, 2008, Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville Division. Plaintiffs are all Tennessee residents and convicted felons. Plaintiffs sought to invalidate those portions of Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-29-202 that condition the restoration of voting rights for people previously convicted of "infamous crimes" upon their payment of certain legal financial obligations, namely restitution and child support. Plaintiffs assert that this statute, by denying the vote to those who have not satisfied certain legal financial obligations, violates their fundamental right to vote and discriminates among citizens on the basis of wealth. More specifically, Plaintiffs claim that the statute at issue violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Twenty-Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Ex Post-Facto Clauses of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions, the Privileges and Immunities Clauses of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions, and the Due Process Clauses of the United States and Tennessee Constitutions. Plaintiffs named as Defendants those state and county officials, in their official capacity, responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the state statutory scheme as it pertains to voter eligibility and registration. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, nominal damages, attorney's fees and costs.

On June 23, 2008, the District Court (Judge Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr.) denied the county officials' motions to dismiss. On July 28, 2008, Plaintiffs amended their complaint. Thereafter, both parties filed motions for judgment on the pleadings. On September 22, 2008, the District Court (Judge Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr.) granted Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to the constitutional challenges contained in the Amended Complaint, finding that Plaintiffs' constitutional challenges lacked merit.

Plaintiffs appealed to the Sixth Circuit. On October 28, 2010, in a published opinion, the Court of Appeals (Judge Deborah L. Cook) affirmed the District Court's decision.

On May 24, 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States denied cert.

Xin Chen - 06/22/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
State Plaintiff
Voting
Voter qualifications
Causes of Action State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Administrator of Elections for Davidson County
Administrator of Elections for Madison County
Administrator of Elections for Shelby County
Coordinator of Elections
Governor of the State of Tennessee
Secretary of State of Tennessee
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are all Tennessee residents and convicted felons, who, according to state law, were denied the right to vote for failing to satisfy certain legal financial obligations.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
3:08-cv-00187 (M.D. Tenn.) 05/24/2011
VR-TN-0067-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory Relief, Injunctive Relief, and Norminal Monetary Damages 02/25/2008
VR-TN-0067-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 06/23/2008 (M.D. Tenn.)
VR-TN-0067-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Declaratory Relief, Injunctive Relief, and Norminal Monetary Damages 07/28/2008
VR-TN-0067-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to the Constitutional Challenges Contained in the Amended Complaint, by Phil Bredesen, Brook Thompson, and Riley Darnell 08/01/2008
VR-TN-0067-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings or in the Alternative Motion for Partial Summary Judgment 08/22/2008
VR-TN-0067-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant Kim Buckley's Motion for Summary Judgment 09/03/2008
VR-TN-0067-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 09/22/2008 (579 F.Supp.2d 1044) (M.D. Tenn.)
VR-TN-0067-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief Amicus-Curiae Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants and Reversal 04/23/2009
VR-TN-0067-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
6th Circuit Opinion 10/28/2010 (624 F.3d 742)
VR-TN-0067-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cook, Deborah L. (Sixth Circuit)
VR-TN-0067-0008
Griffin, Juliet E. (M.D. Tenn.) [Magistrate]
VR-TN-0067-9000
Wiseman, Thomas Anderton Jr. (M.D. Tenn.)
VR-TN-0067-0002 | VR-TN-0067-0006 | VR-TN-0067-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abudu, Nancy G. (Georgia)
VR-TN-0067-0003 | VR-TN-0067-0004 | VR-TN-0067-9000
Bradley, Neil T. (Georgia)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Grant, Charles K. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-0001 | VR-TN-0067-9000
Herzfeld, Tricia (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
McDonald, Laughlin (Georgia)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bussell, Allison L. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Helou, William N. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-0009 | VR-TN-0067-9000
Oliver, Keli J. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Pentecost, James I. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Presley, Danny (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Ryder, John L. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
Teel, Jerome C. Jr. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-9000
York, Jon A. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-0005 | VR-TN-0067-9000
Other Lawyers Ambrosius, Paul W. (Tennessee)
VR-TN-0067-0007

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