The woman who ordained the arrest of a reporter who crashed the secretive Tennessee judge powwow Nov. 6, 2021, is being honored by the general assembly as a defender of the constitution.
Deborah Tate is “commended for her exemplary service” as head of the AOC – the administrator of the courts – in a March 31 event in Nashville by a resolution No. 672 by two state representatives.
She’d been head of the AOC since 2015 and announced she was quitting in the midst of the agency’s response to my open records request over my illegal arrest as a member of the press Nov. 6 in Franklin at the Embassy Suites at Cool Springs hotel, where the conference of municipal judges was being held.
Mrs. Tate hailed her superior in the AOC job, that being chief justice Roger Page. “I want to thank the Tennessee Supreme Court, who reached out to me and had the confidence in me to appoint me to what is called the Sixth Justice of the Supreme Court,” Mrs. Tate said.
Justice Page declined to order the officials at the conference to stand down even after my midstate bureau chief Christopher Sapp and I submitted to him in his administrative capacity as employer and top bureaucrat two legal briefs about the law.
Justice Page attended the event, as did justices Sharon G. Lee, Jeff Bivins and Sarah K. Campbell.
The briefs, one that his office received 17 days before the conference, said the judge could not bar the press from the conference under Tenn. Const. Art. 1 sect. 19, the rights of the press, and under the open meetings law at Title 8, chapter 44.
Mrs. Taylor has had a long life as a lawyer on government payrolls, having been named twice as commissioner for the federal communications commissions, which oversees radio and TV.
She says she is proud the courts were “open remotely” during the pandemic “to protect constitutional rights.” The courts were closed during the state of emergency in violation of three constitutional provisions, and imposed humiliating conditions and bans on thousands of Tennesseans with cases before civil and criminal tribunals.
It is not clear what role Mrs. Tate played in my arrest, an act of criminal conspiracy in the high reaches of the judicial department that possibly involves the chief justice. Franklin police officer William Orange violated T.C.A. § 40-7-103 by arresting me without a warrant, dragging me out of my chair as I sat quietly in the conference room, and injuring my hand by double-cinching the cuffs. He charged me with criminal trespass. General sessions court judge M.T. Taylor threw out the charges at a 70-minute hearing Dec. 14, 2021.
At the honorifics, Mrs. Tate ends her remarks with words from the Bible at Micah 6:8 “Do justice, show mercy and walk humbly with God.”