Flaws In Amendment 2, You have to Pass It to Find Out what’s in it—Part 2

The Vote No on Amendment 2 have released the second of a series of press releases advancing their message to Vote NO on 2.

Part 2 – Amendment 2 makes changes to two (2) parts of the Constitution (without saying so)

Part 2 – Amendment 2 reads on the ballot: “Shall Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended. . .,” but it actually changes a second, unreferenced provision in the Constitution.

“For the past 144 years every judge appointed to office faced the voters in the next two-year election cycle when the General Assembly is on the ballot,” noted John Avery Emison, state coordinator of the Vote NO on 2! Committee. “Amendment 2, if enacted,

Emison said that the promoters of Amendment 2 publically state that the Governor can appoint “for a full [eight-year] term” thus ensuring the judge will have eight years on the bench before facing the voters. “This has the effect of changing the constitutional mandate that appointed judges must be on the ballot in the next two-year election,” Emison said. (This provision is found in Article VII, Section 5.) “The wisdom behind the current system is that no one should serve in any public office for 16-years and face the voters only once,” Emison said.

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.

“The Nov. 4 ballot question says Amendment 2 changes one provision of the Constitution, but that is not accurate because the promoters of this amendment recognize Page 2 of 2 it changes two provisions,” Emison said. “This results in a fundamentally flawed, if not deceptive approach that ensures the voters cannot know what changes are embraced by Amendment 2. The reason they cannot know is because only one change is listed on the ballot and the second change is not,” according to Emison.

The founding fathers of Tennessee prohibited the General Assembly from passing any measure that embraces more than one subject, “that subject to be expressed in the title” of the bill or measure (Article II, Section 17). “Therefore,” Emison continued, “Amendment 2 is not legally on the ballot because the legislative resolution that put it on the ballot embraced two subjects (judges and elections) and the matter of elections was not expressed in the caption of the bill.”

BACKGROUND to the facts of PART 2:

Sen. Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and sponsor of Amendment 2 was asked during floor debate on Feb. 21, 2013 whether Amendment 2 gives the power to the Governor to appoint for an eight-year term. He responded: “That is correct, at the end of the eight-year term for a full term. . . there would be a retention election under the language of this constitutional amendment.”

Speaking on behalf of the Vote YES organization, Nashville attorney Lee Barfield twice said at the Southeast Nashville Conservatives’ Breakfast, Sept. 20 that retention elections would be “at the end of the eight-year term.”

The Vote NO on 2! Committee continues its series of press releases to highlight serious flaws in the wording and promotion of Amendment 2. The Part 1 topic addressed the fact that there is nothing in Amendment 2 to prevent the Governor from re-appointing a judge who has been rejected and removed from office by voters in a “retention election.”

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