Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 20, 2019 


A whistleblower complaint against President Trump sets off tug-of-war between Congress and the White House; and students around the world strike today to demand action on climate change.

2020Talks - September 20, 2019. (3 min.)  


Climate change is a big issue this election season, and global climate strikes kick off, while UAW labor strikes continue.

Daily Newscasts

Tennessee AG Removes Barrier for Anti-Refugee Lawsuit

Tennessee lawmakers still may file a lawsuit with the help of outside counsel against the federal government as a result of its refugee resettlement policies. (TracyHunter/flickr.com)
Tennessee lawmakers still may file a lawsuit with the help of outside counsel against the federal government as a result of its refugee resettlement policies. (TracyHunter/flickr.com)
July 11, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee still may file suit against the federal government for its refugee settlement policies, but it won't be the state attorney general leading the charge.

Earlier this year the Tennessee General Assembly directed Attorney General Herbert Slatery to file a suit alleging the federal government failed to consult with the state on refugee resettlement.

Late last week, Slatery announced he will not represent the state in such a case, but added he will not prohibit lawmakers from hiring outside counsel.

That's in spite of the fact that state law gives the General Assembly no authority to file lawsuits on behalf of the state, says Thomas Castelli, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee.

"This is different,” he states. “This is the state General Assembly saying, 'We want to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the state. We want to speak for the state,' which has generally been the purview of the attorney general and the governor."

The resolution (SJR467) stated the legislature would not spend any money on legal fees, but Castelli points out that any litigation will come at a cost whether it's directly or indirectly.

Tennessee may have legal support from a Michigan-based law firm. The Thomas More Law Center – with a stated purpose to "preserve America's Judeo-Christian heritage" – is considered by some to be anti-Muslim.

Castelli says he and others are pressing lawmakers to attend to issues that are intended to be under state control.

"It's kind of a distraction,” he states. “There are a lot of issues in the state of Tennessee that the state legislature and state officials have direct control over. Immigration is not one of them. Immigration has always been a federal issue."

A federal court recently dismissed a similar lawsuit in Texas, holding that there was no legal merit to Texas' claim.


Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN