Judge issues injunction against Tennessee House, barring enforcement of sign ban – Tennessee Lookout


Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Anne Martin just issued a restraining order, barring the Tennessee House of Representative from enforcing a rule banning signs during the special session on public safety.

A temporary injunction hearing has been set to hear the ACLU lawsuit on Sept. 5.


The ACLU of Tennessee, representing three women ejected from a legislative subcommittee hearing on Tuesday, has filed suit against House leaders, alleging rules restricting the holding of signs in the House of Representatives violate Constitutionally-guaranteed free speech and assembly rights.

The suit, filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, seeks an emergency restraining order against enforcement of the rule.

On Monday, at the outset of a specially-called Legislative session on public safety, the Tennessee House of Representatives adopted the rules barring flags, signs and banners in House galleries.

House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland said, under these rules, signs on 8½ x 11-inch sheets of paper would be barred in committee meetings, too.

On Tuesday, three women — Allison Polidor, Erica Bowton and Maryam Abolfazli — were escorted out of a Tennessee House subcommittee hearing. The women, all mothers of young children, held small signs that said “1 KID > ALL THE GUNS.”

“These rules are unreasonable,” said ACLU-TN Legal Director Stella Yarbrough in a statement. “The Tennessee House’s ban on silently holding signs in House galleries directly undermines Tennesseans’ First Amendment right to express their opinions on issues that affect them and their families.”

The suit names House Speaker Cameron Sexton, Chief Clerk Tammy Letzler, Sergeant-At-Arms Bobby Trotter and Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Matt Perry.

Restraining Order
1-Polidor-v.-Sexton-Complaint (1)