The Law Office of Daniel A. Horwitz, Esq.

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August 3, 2017

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Daniel A. Horwitz is a constitutional lawyer practicing in Nashville, Tennessee.  He is the recipient of the 2018 Harris Gilbert Award from the Tennessee Bar Association and a nationally renowned impact litigator.  Horwitz has also been recognized by the American Bar Association as one of the top 40 young lawyers in the United States.  His selected case history is available here.

Horwitz is a graduate of Cornell University and Vanderbilt Law School.  He is admitted to practice law in every court in Tennessee as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eleventh Circuits.  A former judicial law clerk for the Tennessee Supreme Court, Horwitz’s award-winning legal scholarship has appeared in numerous law journals including the Harvard Latino Law Review, the University of Memphis Law Review, the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy, the SMU Science and Technology Law Review, the Tennessee Bar Journal, and the Nashville Bar Journal.  His work has also been cited in several other legal and popular publications including the Washington Post, NPR, the Associated Press, the American Bar Association Journal, Forbes, the Nashville Business Journal, The Tennessean, the Nashville Post, The Memphis Commercial Appeal, The Nashville Scene, Slate, and in multiple pleadings filed before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Horwitz’s law practice consists primarily of speech defense, criminal and civil appeals, constitutional litigation, amicus curiae representation, criminal record expungement, and representing victims of crime.  He is also a sitting member of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and an active member of numerous community organizations in Nashville including the Amicus Curiae Committee of the Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (TACDL), which regularly handles appeals before the Tennessee Supreme Court on behalf of TACDL’s membership.

If you would like to purchase a consultation, you can do so using the form below.

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Posted in: Daniel Horwitz
April 4, 2019

Horwitz Wins Sixth Circuit Reversal Against Judge Who Instituted Inmate Sterilization Program

In 2017, three inmates in White County, Tennessee sued White County General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield, alleging a variety of constitutional violations arising from a coervice sterilization-for-sentencing-credits program instituted in the county jail. Among other things, the inmates’ lawsuit sought injunctive relief that would forever terminate White County’s sterilization program.

On April 4, 2019, in a decision reversing the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit officially ruled that sterilization-for-sentencing-credits arrangements like the one instituted by White County Judge Sam Benningfield are unconstitutional. “Requiring inmates to waive a fundamental right to obtain a government benefit impermissibly burdens that right” in contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court’s opinion reads.

“This decision sends a clear, important message that should never have been necessary in the first place: Inmate sterilization is illegal and unconstitutional,” Daniel Horwitz, the inmates’ lawyer, said in a statement to The Tennessean on the ruling.

Daniel Horwitz is constitutional lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Posted in: Appeals, Daniel Horwitz
February 8, 2019

Horwitz Secures First-Ever Reinvestigation of Nashville Murder Conviction By District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit

After a years-long effort to secure a review of Joseph Webster’s conviction for a 1998 murder, the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office has officially authorized a reinvestigation into the case. It is the first investigation into a potential wrongful murder conviction in Nashville’s history.

“I applaud the District Attorney’s office for deciding to reinvestigate the case against Joseph Webster, which has utterly collapsed,” said Daniel Horwitz, Webster’s attorney. “Mr. Webster looks forward to a thorough investigation of this matter, which he is confident will prove his consistent and unwavering claim of innocence.

Daniel Horwitz is a criminal and civil appellate attorney based in Nashville, Tennessee.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Amount: $200.00

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February 4, 2019

Horwitz Wins Speech Defense Claim, Secures Full Dismissal of Lawsuit Filed By Strip Club Over Witness Testimony

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order issued on February 4, 2019, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Deja Vu of Nashville, a local strip club, against business owner Linda Schipani. The lawsuit arose out of testimony that Mrs. Schipani gave to the Metro Traffic and Parking Commission regarding misconduct by the strip club’s valet service operator, which the strip club claimed was part of a conspiracy. Schipani was represented by Daniel Horwitz, a First Amendment and speech defense lawyer based in Nashville.

“Mrs. Schipani is pleased that this garbage lawsuit was properly disposed of at the court’s first opportunity, as we’d promised it would be,” Horwitz said in an emailed statement to the Nashville Business Journal. “In addition to recovering her legal fees, Mrs. Schipani looks forward to celebrating this complete and total victory by continuing to be a good neighbor, a successful businesswoman, and an engaged member of her community. Future bad actors who seek to censor and intimidate their neighbors by filing nonsensical lawsuits would be wise to take heed.”

Daniel Horwitz is a First Amendment and speech defense lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Payment for: 30-Minute Consultation

Amount: $200.00

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Selected Case Documents:

Selected Media Coverage:

January 11, 2019

Horwitz Secures Appellate Victory Upholding Validity of Election that Established Nashville’s Police Oversight Board

Nashville’s first-ever Community Oversight Board—a committee that will review and investigate complaints of police misconduct that voters approved by an overwhelming margin in a November 2018 referendum—will stand, according to a unanimous opinion from the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The Fraternal Order of Police and other opponents of police oversight had sought to invalidate the results of the election, claiming that the referendum should never have been submitted to voters. Advocates of the oversight board were represented by Nashville attorneys Daniel Horwitz and Jamie Hollin.

“The FOP’s attempt to invalidate a free election and strip 134,135 people of their vote has been rejected yet again,” Community Oversight Now attorneys Jamie Hollin and Daniel Horwitz said in a statement to The Tennessean. “We are pleased that Metro’s Community Oversight Board will be permitted to do the important work that voters demanded.”

The Metro Council will begin considering nominations to the Board immediately.

Daniel Horwitz is a campaign finance and election lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Payment for: 30-Minute Consultation

Amount: $200.00

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Selected Case Documents and Media Coverage:


October 31, 2018

Horwitz Secures Early Release of Calvin Bryant, College Student Who Received 17-year Mandatory Minimum Sentence First-Time, Non-Violent Drug Offense

Calvin Bryant—a beloved college student and high school football star whose sentence garnered national attention for its purposeless cruelty after he received a 17-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense—was released from prison on October 31, 2018. Mr. Bryant’s release was made possible after his attorney, Daniel Horwitz, brokered a deal with Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk that enabled him to be released seven years early.

Due to the severity of Tennessee’s Drug Free School Zone Act—an intensely punitive sentencing enhancement that has nothing to do with protecting children, places drug offenses on par with the most severe, violent crimes, and can be applied to virtually every drug transaction that occurs within a Tennessee city—Mr. Bryant received a prison sentence for a low-level drug transaction that was longer than he would have received if he had committed Rape or Second Degree murder. His case attracted widespread calls for reform after it exposed prosecutors’ arbitrary use of the enhancement and its racially disparate application.

“This would not have been possible without a DA sticking his neck out to right this wrong, and without a legion of supporters,” Horwitz told The Tennessean. “This is—and I’m not exaggerating— the most unfair sentence I have ever seen. There is simply no circumstance in which it makes sense to punish a first-time, nonviolent drug offender more harshly than a rapist or a murderer.”

After his release, Bryant immediately re-enrolled at Tennessee State University to finish his degree and established a non-profit organization aimed at curbing youth violence and steering kids away from gangs and drugs. Selected media coverage of Mr. Bryant’s case appears below.

Calvin Bryant poses with his attorney, Daniel Horwitz, following his early release from prison for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.

Selected Media Coverage:

–The Tennessean: Sentenced to 17 years for low-level drug charge, Nashville man gets freedom thanks to deal with prosecutors

–Patch:  Nashville Case Highlights Drug-Free School Zone Reform Efforts

–Reason: How a Drug-Free School Zone Sent a Tennessee College Student to Prison For 17 Years

–Reason: Calvin Bryant Was Serving a Draconian Mandatory Minimum Sentence. Now He’s Free

–Nashville Scene:  Council Members Petition Judge Over Drug-Free School Zone Case

–The Tennessean:  He got 17 years for selling drugs near school. Now 12 Nashville officials are fighting on his behalf

–ScotBlog: Eighth Amendment Challenge Filed Against Tennessee’s “Drug Free School Zone” Law

–Families Against Mandatory Minimums: Calvin Bryant: 17 Years for a First Offense


October 4, 2018

Horwitz Wins Lawsuit Challenging Tennessee’s “Blackout Ban” for Non-Partisan PACs

In a landmark victory against a decades-old Tennessee election statute, Horwitz client Tennesseans for Sensible Election Lawsa non-partisan PAC that aims to “protect all Tennesseans’ rights to participate in the political process without unreasonable interference from the state government”—has secured an injunction prohibiting the State of Tennessee from favoring partisan speakers.  The effect of the Court’s ruling is that non-partisan PACs are now able to make direct campaign contributions during the most critical period before an electionsomething that partisan PACs have been able to do for decades.  The Tennessean has more: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2018/09/27/nashville-judge-rules-against-tennessee-lawsuit-over-blackout-period-pacs/1437231002/ 

Daniel Horwitz is a campaign finance and election lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Payment for: 30-Minute Consultation

Amount: $200.00

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Selected Case Documents:

Plaintiff’s Complaint

Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Law in Support of a Preliminary Injunction

Defendants’ Answer

Plaintiff’s Pre-Trial Brief

Defendants’ Pre-Trial Brief

Selected Media Coverage:

-The Tennessean: Nashville judge rules against state in lawsuit over ‘blackout period’ for PACs

-Nashville Post: Court strikes down ‘blackout period’ campaign finance provision

-The Tennessean: Tennessee sued over PAC contributions ‘blackout period’ before elections

July 5, 2018

Horwitz Named Top 40 Young Lawyer in the United States by the American Bar Association

Each year, the American Bar Association honors the Top 40 young lawyers in the United States through its “On the Rise” award.  On the heels of winning the Tennessee Bar Association’s Harris Gilbert Award, Horwitz has been named a 2018 honoree.  The ABA notes:

Daniel Horwitz is a constitutional lawyer practicing in Nashville, Tennessee.  A graduate of Cornell University and Vanderbilt Law School, Horwitz’s law practice focuses on constitutional litigation, election law, and amicus curiae representation.  Horwitz is also a member of the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and he holds a leadership position in the American Constitution Society.

A former judicial law clerk for the Tennessee Supreme Court, Horwitz’s groundbreaking impact litigation has been featured in national publications including the Washington Post, Forbes, and NPR.  A prolific author, Horwitz has also published award-winning legal scholarship in several law journals including the Harvard Latino Law Review, the University of Memphis Law Review, and the Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy.  In 2018, the Tennessee Bar Association awarded Horwitz the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer Award for his dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to the poor.

If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Posted in: In the News
April 21, 2018

Horwitz Wins Prestigious Harris Gilbert Award for Pro Bono Service

Each year, the Tennessee Bar Association recognizes outstanding service by attorneys who have dedicated their time to helping others.  The TBA’s annual public service awards include the Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year, which recognizes private attorneys who have contributed a significant amount of pro bono work and have demonstrated dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to the poor.  The award is named after Gilbert, a Nashville attorney and past Tennessee Bar Association president, who exemplifies the Bar’s commitment to public service.  The TBA’s story recognizing Horwitz, authored by Katharine Heriges, is available here and reprinted below.

Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year

It’s hard to not be impressed with Daniel Horwitz.

Every year, the Tennessee Bar Association honors members of the legal community who have led impressive careers, but even among that noteworthy cohort, Horwitz stands out.

His cases have been written about in Slate, Forbes and USA Today, to name a few. He’s been published and cited in a number of legal publications. He’s had cases in front of the Tennessee Supreme Court. Runs a successful legal blog. Has clocked in thousands and thousands of hours of pro bono service.

And he hasn’t even turned 35.

Horwitz came to Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt Law, of which he is a 2013 graduate. A Los Angeles native and undergrad alum of Cornell University, he calls himself the “black sheep” of a family of scientists and doctors for choosing a legal career.

Black sheep? It’s a little tough to believe.

Everything about Horwitz is improbable though — not the least of which being his penchant for taking on seemingly impossible pro bono civil rights cases and winning.

In a particularly high-profile example that took place this year, Horwitz represented Maximiliano Gabriel Gluzman, an Argentine native and Vanderbilt Law graduate who was stopped from sitting for the Tennessee Bar exam by the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners. Despite finishing Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program with a 3.9 GPA, Gluzman was denied the chance to take the Bar in Tennessee because of his previous Argentinean legal education. Married to an American woman from Memphis, relocation outside of Tennessee would have been difficult and he had few options available to him.

Gluzman guesses that Horwitz dedicated more than 200 hours to the case.

“I knew if anyone was going to go to the mat for Maxi, it would be Daniel,” said David Hudson, a friend and former professor of Horwitz’s who first connected him to Gluzman.

Horwitz didn’t just represent Gluzman, whose case ended up in front of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He used every tool in the toolbox to turn a legal matter into a full-blown movement.

Horwitz pressed for media coverage, which he received from local and national outlets. The University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University were recruited to jump on board as well, filing briefs in support of Gluzman. Although Horwitz once served as Election Counsel for the Tennessee Democratic Party, he petitioned national conservative groups to support Gluzman’s endeavor. The Beacon Center of Tennessee, the Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute and Arizona’s Goldwater Institute all submitted amici curiae briefs on Gluzman’s behalf.

Hudson called Horwitz’s effort “Herculean.” For Gluzman, it was life changing.

With the Supreme Court ruling in his favor, Gluzman will be allowed to sit for the February 2018 Bar exam. Aside from doing right by his client, the implications of this case will be felt for years to come. The Tennessee Supreme Court is currently reviewing changes to Rule 7 of the Rules of the Supreme Court, the section that covers Bar admission.

To hear Horwitz describe the case, it seems like it’s “all in a day’s work.” But a day’s work for the average young lawyer doesn’t always include nationally significant cases, does it?

The majority of his pro bono work, however, doesn’t receive gavel-to-gavel coverage.

“He routinely helps indigent people expunge their criminal records free of charge, assists the poor with landlord-tenant disputes, and represents crime victims who have nowhere else to turn for help to secure their safety,” said attorney Joy Kimbrough, who has worked with Horwitz. “Few are aware of this work, because (he) doesn’t talk about it.”

Like the case of Amy McDowell (not her real name), a woman Horwitz represented in a case of stalking and harassment. In 2016, McDowell had recently moved to Nashville and had been receiving incessant calls and voicemails from a man threatening to set her on fire. She went to the police with the information, but after they were unable to trace the calls, they said that there was little they could do unless violence had actually been committed.

Horwitz took on her case with dogged commitment.

“Soon, (he) had both a private investigator and the District Attorney private investigator working on the case,” McDowell said. “Within two months, we successfully had a correct ID on the perpetrator, something even the police thought was nearly impossible.”

The man was arrested and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, but that wasn’t enough for Horwitz.

“(He) did not end the case with the first arrest, but continued to fight on my behalf to pursue felony charges,” McDowell said. The man who tormented McDowell is currently serving time in jail thanks to Horwitz.

McDowell said Horwitz clocked more than 55 pro bono hours on her case over 19 months.

Listening to friends talk about Horwitz is a nonstop list of his audacious achievements:

What about the time he got a Nashville man’s 1995 sodomy conviction expunged using a writ of audita querela, which hadn’t been seen in a Tennessee court in a century?

What about his case against the White County judge who offered time off of jail sentences for inmates who agreed to undergo birth control procedures?

What about his work serving on the YWCA board?

What about his legislative lobbying efforts on behalf of indigent litigants?

Simply put, Horwitz doesn’t stop.

“He’s not only brilliant, he’s got an indefatigable work ethic,” Hudson said. “And a strong sense of justice.”

Hudson described befriending him while they co-clerked for Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee: “Sometimes he would work until 10 p.m. at night. I was long gone by then.”

Horwitz said he makes civil rights and pro bono work a priority in his life and practice, but also notes that he has the time because he works for himself.

“I’ve never worked for a corporate law firm,” he said. “I know some people (at corporate firms) are able to do a significant amount of civil rights-related pro bono work, but I know a lot of them can’t. I’ve never had to deal with those kinds of barriers.”

He points out that for many new law graduates who want to take part in impactful civil rights work, the cost of student loans — and the pressing need to make payments on time — in many ways make it impossible. New lawyers find themselves having to take the job that pays best, rather that the position that will lead to the most significant career.

“It’s a huge problem,” Horwitz said.

It’s one that needs to be addressed, because the legal profession is in need of attorneys who are ready to change the justice system.

“I think it’s really important for lawyers to represent unpopular clients who have important causes,” Horwitz said. Like a current client, who’s serving three consecutive lifetime sentences for a crime he committed when he was 14. “Nobody wants to go near those cases — they are devastating to everyone who has any connection to them. But we’re talking about kids here. The U.S. Supreme Court has held repeatedly that kids are different.”

Horwitz said it’s great when those types of cases get public attention.

“But it’s easy to forget that those cases aren’t rare,” he added. “Lots of people have devastating stories that don’t get any kind of attention or garner any sympathy. It would be nice if we gave more than lip service to all of them.”

— Katharine Heriges

Posted in: In the News
April 20, 2018

Horwitz Wins Defamation Suit on Behalf of Restaurateur (Again)

In another resounding win, celebrated Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn has again beaten back a multi-million dollar defamation and false light lawsuit filed against him by Thomas Nathan Loftis, Sr., the former director of Nashville State’s culinary program.  In a unanimous ruling, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the outright dismissal of Mr. Loftis’s claims on the basis that Loftis had advanced a “far-fetched and not a reasonable interpretation” of the statements that he had sued over, and that “the statements in the newspaper article are not defamatory as a matter of law.”  The Court of Appeals also ordered Mr. Loftis to pay for the costs of the lawsuit, and it further ordered the Trial Court to determine whether Loftis must pay Mr. Rayburn’s legal fees.

Given the serious threat that the case posed to the viability of newsgathering in Tennessee, the lawsuit attracted national attention from First Amendment organizations like The First Amendment Center’s Newseum Institute and TechDirt. The Court of Appeals’ decision constitutes a total victory and complete vindication for Mr. Rayburn, who has maintained that the lawsuit was frivolous from the beginning.  “We’re thrilled about this resounding win, which fully vindicates Mr. Rayburn and the First Amendment yet again,” said Daniel Horwitz, Mr. Rayburn’s attorney.  “Filing a lawsuit this frivolous was a very poor decision, and unfortunately for Mr. Loftis, it is about to become an expensive one as well.”

Daniel Horwitz is a First Amendment and speech defense lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Selected case documents and media reports about the case are available below.  If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Selected Case Documents:

Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint

Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint

Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Dismiss (1)/Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Dismiss (2)

Defendant’s Reply to Plaintiff’s Response

Transcript of Hearing on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

*Order Dismissing Plaintiff’s Complaint With Prejudice

Brief of Plaintiff-Appellant Thomas Nathan Loftis, Sr.

Brief of Defendant-Appellee and Cross-Appellant Randy Rayburn

*Appellate Court Order Denying Plaintiff’s Appeal and Remanding for Consideration of Attorney’s Fees Award

Selected Media Coverage:

-The Tennessean: Defamation lawsuit against restaurateur Randy Rayburn dismissed — again

-TechDirt: Judge Dumps Stupid Libel Suit Featuring A Man Suing A Third Party For Things A Journalist Said

-Nashville Business Journal: Nashville restaurateur Randy Rayburn faces $1.5 million lawsuit

-TechDirt: Former University Official Files Libel Lawsuit Against His Replacement For Things A Journalist Said

-Nashville Business Journal: Judge dismisses $1.5M suit against well-known restaurateur

-First Amendment Center’s Newseum Institute: Unusual Defamation Suit Targets Source of Story

April 10, 2018

Horwitz Wins Landmark Victory Resetting Nashville’s Mayoral Election

In a landmark ruling, the Tennessee Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the special election to fill the vacancy in the Nashville Mayor’s office must be held in May.  The ruling comes on the heels of Tennessee’s high court opting to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction and review the case on an expedited basis.

“We are grateful that the Tennessee Supreme Court has issued a powerful, persuasive, and unanimous opinion vindicating Mr. Wallace’s claim that the Charter is clear and that Metro Government cannot unilaterally nullify a referendum supported by 83% of voters,” said Daniel Horwitz, Wallace’s attorney.  “Hopefully, the next time around, Metro Legal will respect the will of the citizens that they are supposed to represent.”

Daniel Horwitz is a constitutional litigator and election lawyer based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Selected documents and media reports on Wallace v. Metro are available below.

If you would like to purchase a consultation from Horwitz, you can do so using the following form:

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Selected Case Documents

*Tennessee Supreme Court’s Opinion and Order granting relief,

Wallace Principal Brief

Metro’s Principal Brief

Wallace Reply Brief

Wallace Application for Extraordinary Jurisdiction

Selected Media Coverage

-The Tennessean: Tennessee Supreme Court moves up Nashville mayoral special election to May

-The Nashville Scene: Supreme Court: Mayoral Election Must Be Held in May

-The Nashville Post: Supreme Court moves mayoral election to May

-The Nashville Business Journal: Supreme Court strikes down August mayoral election date

-Nashville Business Journal: Tennessee Supreme Court to decide fate of Nashville mayoral election

-WPLN: Nashville Must Hold Next Mayor’s Election In May, Court Rules

-Nashville Post: Supreme Court will decide mayoral election date

-Nashville Scene:  Metro Legal Could Cost the City Money for Another Election