Bid to oust judge over absentee voting ruling killed in House

Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro), right, gestures at Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) in Nashville on July 24, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee has killed a resolution calling for the ouster of Nashville Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle for a ruling expanding access to absentee voting last summer.

The measure sponsored by Rep. Tim Rudd failed on a voice vote. The question was called on the measure despite the Murfreesboro Republican saying he wanted to roll the bill until next week. Rudd confronted Chair Andrew Farmer (R-Sevierville) after the meeting.

“You’re a disgrace!” Rudd told Farmer, bumping into a reporter standing between the two lawmakers.

The measure’s failure comes as a bit of a surprise as 67 Republicans were listed as co-sponsors. But the subcommittee included two Republicans members hadn’t signed on — Michael Curcio of Dickson and Johnny Garrett of Goodlettsville — and two Democrats who opposed the measure, Antonio Parkinson of Memphis and John Ray Clemmons of Nashville.

Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) demanded a roll call vote, but his motion didn’t come until the vote was already underway. He sought a recount after the fact, but Farmer had already gavelled the resolution dead.

One observer noted the fight over the ouster resolution could portend a splintering among the House Republican Caucus going forward. The extent of the fallout and the fate of inevitable resurrection attempts remain to be seen.

22 Responses to Bid to oust judge over absentee voting ruling killed in House

  • Avatar
    James White says:

    “You’re a disgrace!” Rudd told Farmer. Rudd is RIGHT !

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    David Thomas says:

    Good. The last thing this state needs is those jack-leg legislators trying to destroy the Judiciary. Rudd and his co-conspirators are the real disgrace! The last thing this state needs is Judges looking over their backs to see if they are pleasing the legislature!

    • Avatar
      James White says:

      Judges should obey their Oath. Oust them if Not.

      • Avatar
        David Thomas says:

        And precisely, pray tell, how did Judge Lyle not follow her oath.

        • Avatar
          James White says:

          Judges and Mayors and Governors and Secretary s and commissions and health departments do not write laws. The constitution is clear and she violated it.

          • Avatar
            James White says:

            SECTION. 4. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

          • Avatar
            James White says:

            The General Assembly shall have power to enact laws requiring voters to vote
            in the election precincts in which they may reside, and laws to secure the freedom
            of elections and the purity of the ballot box.

    • Avatar
      Karen Smith says:

      Hey James White, if you can’t spell “secretaries” properly, you’re probably not literate enough to interpret the TN constitution. Why don’t you stay out of it and let the experts handle it. Stick to your day job – which is probably sitting on your a** trolling the internet and being a full-time idiot.

      • Avatar
        James White says:

        Have you, Karen, ever typed something wrong, hit enter and then not be able to re-edit… Have you, Karen, ever made an error?
        Show me in the constitution where the Judges can write election law please.
        The constitutions are not that hard to under stand, even the US Constitution and the Federalist Papers were written for mostly Farmers that were educated on their mother’s knee.

  • Avatar
    Missy s says:

    Rudd is right

  • Avatar
    Jonathan Swift says:

    Rudd should stick to law-making, not trying to get rid of judiciary members he doesn’t agree with.

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    TR says:

    I suspect Republican leadership wanted this resolution killed once they thought through the ramifications of what they were about to let be unleashed and the near uniform opposition to the resolution among Tennessee’s legal community. This was a bad look for the Republican caucus and they should be glad Chairman Farmer and his committee killed this nonsense quickly.

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    Phillip Lassiter says:

    Lawyers serving in the legislature is a violation of separation of powers. Curcio has always been a chamber of commerce democrat who ran as a Republican. Two spindley Dems who were likely threatened by Gov fail at every front Lee went against the wishes of 67 legislators. Disgraceful, indeed. Maybe Andy Farmer can get another Billboard advertising himself as the watchdog of the Judiciary, A lawmaker and a private lawyer. No conflict there. Curcio can go back to his nurse maid now and take a nap.

  • Avatar
    Phillip Lassiter says:

    Oh yeah……this WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED UNLESS Cameron “Do away with the electoral college-(previous initiative of his) Sexton didn’t want it to.

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    Michael Lottman says:

    This action may not have been pretty, but this terrible bill did not deserve to be treated with much respect. It is good to know that for some legislators, in some settings and on some issues, there is a bottom line.

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    Misty Pardner says:

    The splintering of the Caucus began when Casada was elected Speaker. He is still working behind the scenes and Lamberth is his puppet. Look for the Majority Leader to challenge Sexton the next leadership race. Members like Rudd, Griffey, Cepicky, Todd and Ogles fancy themselves as the future of the Republican Party. They’re wrong.

    • Avatar
      Phillip Lassiter says:

      That’s because there is no future for the Republican Party within the current membership. None have the backbone to stick it out. Opportunistic maneuvering is what they crave-not principle. Another hard to choke down fact but here’s some water……

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  • Avatar
    Linda Lamphear says:

    According to the Constitution the duties and boundaries for Judges are to judge and rule according to already established laws. They do not have the jurisdiction to change a law or to make a law.

    The Constitution set up three separate and distinct Branches of our land: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary with checks and balances for each. The Judiciary is not the most important and neither is it the law of our land.

    We need to go back and read and study the Constitution as written, not as interpreted by some elitist or judge, but as was written and meant by our founding fathers.

    When a judge oversteps their boundary it is up to the Legislature to step up and discipline or bring them back into their boundary. The Legislative Branch is the most important because it represents “We The People”. We elected them. They make the laws for us not any Judge even a Supreme Court Judge.

    Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle overstepped her boundary in trying to change the voting rules of our State Legislature. That is illegal! And for what purpose? It doesn’t matter if she has ruled good in the past, she did something illegal which needs to be dealt with.

    So, in all due respect, Rep. Tim Rudd was correct in introducing a bill to remove her from her office.
    If a judge wants to be a part in making or changing the laws then they should leave their office of being a judge and run for the legislature so we can vote for them if we think they will represent us well.

  • Avatar
    DW says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=repCN2Nfof0 Former TN Legislator for 12 years and lawyer gives a clear explanation of what happened AND the impact.

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