AG asked to opine on power to oust Byrd from House

Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) speaks to the House Republican Caucus after winning their nomination for speaker on July 24, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Rep. Cameron Sexton, the Republican nominee to be elected speaker during Friday’s special session, is asking state Attorney General Herbert Slatery about whether the chamber has the power to oust Rep. David Byrd over allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage basketball players when he was their coach in the 1980s.

UPDATEThe Tennessean’s Joel Ebert reports that the AG’s office does not anticipate being able to answer in time for the special session.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

Dear General Slatery:

Article 11, Section 12 of the Tennessee Constitution provides:

  • Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offence; and shall have all other powers necessary for a branch of the Legislature of a free State.

The Tennessee House of Representatives has used the power to expel only twice since 1866. In both instances, the member was expelled for conduct that occurred during the time of the member’s service. I am writing to request an opinion as to the following question:

  • May the House of Representatives expel a member for conduct which occurred more than twenty-five years prior to the member’s initial election to the House of Representatives and that is publicly known at the time of the member’s most recent re-election to the House of Representatives?

As always, I appreciate the work that you and your staff provide to the General Assembly and to the citizens of Tennessee. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Respectfully submitted,

/signed/
Representative Cameron Sexton
25th Representative District

9 Responses to AG asked to opine on power to oust Byrd from House

  • Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Come on Cameron! Virtue signaling already in response to the roar of the crowd and you haven’t even taken office as yet does not bode well for the future. Punishment via ouster from office for a “crime” allegedly committed thirty-five years ago based on unproven allegations is unbecoming of a democracy. Let Byrd’s constituents who are most familiar with the facts and circumstances of the alleged incidents and parties involved be the judge of his fate in the 2020 elections after his accusers campaign against his reelection, that’s the way a democracy is supposed to work.

    • Benton Temple says:

      Stuart, please stop sticking up for scumbags like David Byrd, Glen Casada, Judd Matheny, etc.

      It’s gross quite honestly.

      • Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Benton, what is and what is not “gross” is very much something in the eye of the beholder. For example, earlier today in another thread you indicated that those who disagreed with you were “gutter trash” and I teased you about it, likening it to cheers we hear at Predators’ games. In this thread you call gentlemen with whom you disagree “scumbags.”

        I don’t know you Benton, and I only took Psychology 101 the beginning survey course in the subject so I am unable to make a diagnosis of why you are so intolerant of people with whom you disagree who have been convicted of no crime so must in our justice system must be presumed to have committed no crime. What I do know is that you show definite signs of having some kind of authoritarian personality which, quite honestly, I find to be “gross” in a “Response” section of a blog. If I’m correct I can’t really ask you to change your personality because I’m afraid you a stuck in that respect. I think it would be better, however, if you expressed why you dislike individuals or their politics rather that simply calling them names.

      • Brian Risner says:

        shut up, Mike Lofti-youre worse than anyone that has ever slithered through the Capitol.

      • brenda Skaggins says:

        Good one, Michael Lofti youre the one peeing in chairs and attacking women who have been abused honestly, that’s quite gross–on a whole new level

  • Steve wright says:

    Being ousted based on allegations alone with
    No supporting facts is anathema to a constitutional republic.
    Allegations of found to have merit should
    Cause the electorate to remove him through the electoral process.
    It is disgusting that facts and due process
    Have taken a back seat to allegations
    And hireing a group of paid protesters to
    Show up to attempt an end run around
    The rule of law. If the law has been broken
    The process for redress is clear. Let’s not
    Ignore the rules of our republic to govern
    By who shouts the loudest. Shame on the lack of leadership
    By a speaker not even yet installed. God
    Help us save our Republic!!

  • LeeAnn C. says:

    Seems like a reasonable question for the AG.

    • Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Is our appointed rather than popularly elected AG being sent off to research this “reasonable question” just to scratch an intellectual itch that Cameron Sexton has, or is the purpose of this research to oust David Byrd from the seat to which he was duly elected by his constituents? Duly elected, as I recall, after the accusations of these 30+ year-old alleged incidents were one of the issues in the campaign which resulted in his election. It may be “…a reasonable question for the AG” but the intended action for which it serves as a mere antecedent is outrageously unfair and undemocratic.

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