Among many Americans and Tennesseans, there is a general feeling that what is happening around us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is not right, more specifically, unconstitutional. Though many of us know that to be true, it seems to be hard to pinpoint exactly why. And while we continue to walk around with this general feeling, our rights are being taken away from us.
We are taking a step forward and inviting all Tennesseans to join us in declaring that this government is ours, and it is ours because of the security of our liberties by the Tennessee Constitution.
Comments on the AdHoc Committee Hearing 9/03/2020
Currently, a joint House and Senate Ad Hoc committee is meeting in Tennessee to discuss the emergency powers statute found in TCA Title 58 as to whether or not the statute itself is constitutional and what, if any, amendments should be proposed during next year’s 112th General Assembly. The committee held it’s 2nd hearing on Thursday, Sept 3, 2020.
Gary Humble takes a look into some of the testimony that was shared and also showcases clips directly from the hearing featuring Tennessee Atty Gen Herbert Slatery, Professor Glenn Reynolds, and Larry Crane, an attorney in Middle Tennessee.
Why Emergency Powers are Unconstitutional in Tennessee
Since March 2020, Governor Bill Lee has continued to issue executive orders pursuant to TCA §58-2-107 as to be considered acts of law or having the force of law. The governor has also delegated that supposed law-making authority to health boards and county mayors across the state. Beyond that, many city mayors, county commissions and school boards have followed suit by issuing orders and mandates of their own along with posing civil penalties for not adhering to those orders.
Citizens are forced to wear masks, declared non-essential, told to stay home, businesses closed, and schools closed, all with assumed authority under TCA §58-2-107 which is implicitly unconstitutional by our Tennessee Constitution.
No, Atty Gen Slatery. Jacobson does not support a mask mandate in Tennessee.
On July 24, 2020, our Tennessee Attorney General, Herbert Slatery issued an opinion as to whether or not mask mandates are constitutional per our emergency powers statute. And, of course, he stated that they were indeed constitutional.
His rationale for this decision was based on his appropriation of the 1905 US Supreme Court ruling from Jacobson v Mass. Essentially, since the Court upheld the state’s prerogative to mandate a vaccine for smallpox, AG Slatery used that decision to justify Governor Bill Lee delegating authority to county mayors across Tennessee to issue mask mandates in their respective counties.
Watch this video to find out why AG Slatery is dead wrong.