InterpositionJudicial reformRemonstrance

Legislators indicate they don’t care if judges hold prohibited offices

Judicial reform activist John Gentry stands by with draft petition for writ of habeas corpus preparatory to my arrest Nov. 6, 2021. (Photo city of Franklin PD)

On Dec. 2 I emailed all members of the General Assembly, as well as all legislative staff and the Office of Attorney General & Reporter, challenging anyone to prove me wrong that judges are not to hold expressly prohibited offices of trust in the Tennessee Code Commission (TCC) and Board of Judicial Conduct (TBJC).\

By John Gentry

Not a single Member will take me up on my challenge. Not one single Member of either house will even bother to email me argument that I am wrong.

Neither do justices or judges prove me wrong.

On December 30, 2020, I filed a complaint with the TBJC against the judge/chancellor members of the TBJC, to review themselves for misconduct holding prohibited offices of trust.  Their response (see attached):

“…all the authority for the Board of Judicial Conduct came from the Tennessee Legislature, and you place the blame on the “violation of the Tennessee Constitution” on The Board of Judicial Conduct.  You also overlook that The Board of Judicial Conduct was created by another branch of government – the Tennessee Legislature.”

Clearly, the judge members of the TBJC could not defeat my argument that they are holding prohibited offices of trust.  Instead, they just claim they are not to blame, and that it is the fault of the Tennessee Legislature. 

On July 28, 2023, I filed a MOTION FOR ALL TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES TO RECUSE OR DISQUALIFY, in case No. M2022-0064-SC-R11-CV (see attached).  My motion in part, protested the justices’ constitutional incompetence since Justice Page and Justice Bivens are holding prohibited offices of trust in the TCC.

In that motion, I questioned the Tenn. Sup. Ct.: How can justices be competent to issue opinion on Art. I, § 23 rights, when they are incompetent pertaining to Art. VI, § 7 holding prohibited offices?  In that motion, I clearly reminded the justices that Tenn. Sup. Ct. Rule 10B § 3.03 requires them to “state in writing the grounds upon which he or she denies the motion.”  In violation of their own rules, in an ORDER signed by ALL the justices, they failed to state grounds for denial, and they did not deny that Justices Page and Bivins were holding prohibited offices of trust in the TCC.  NOTE: Presently Justice Kirby and Justice Bivins are Members of the TCC in prohibited offices of Trust.

Clearly, the justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court could not defeat my argument that justices are holding prohibited offices of trust.  Instead, they violate their own rules failing to properly recuse by failing to state grounds.  (See attached ORDER).

Our state constitution, Art VI, § 7 prohibits any judge from holding any other office of trust or profit under this state or the United States. That prohibition was put in place to protect against corruption.

Citing Elliot’s Debates James Wilson, Penn. Ratifying Convention Dec. 4, 1787 “The Incompatibility Clause [prohibited 2nd offices of trust] seeks to prevent corruption by ensuring that “the mere acceptance of an office, effectually destroys the end for which it was offered

Cornell Law Review (1994) One Person, One Office: “The Incompatibility Clause was motivated by worries about British-style corruption. The Framers did not perceive it as having much to do with the separation of powers …

Since 1953, and 1971, judges have been statutorily placed in expressly prohibited offices of trust in the TCC and TBJC.  Those offices are used to misconstrue and deceive what the law is, and to protect rampant corruption in our judiciary.

Tenn. Code Ann. § 8-6-109 requires the Attorney General is to give written legal opinion on all matters submitted to them by any member of the General Assembly.

Will one of you ask for such opinion?  I for one would like to know the legal opinion of the Office of Attorney General.  I expect the AG to make up false arguments, since attorneys protect attorneys in black robes, and want to preserve power to make and construe law, but nevertheless, I would like to read the AG’s legal opinion, so I can fact check the opinion.

Since all of you swore oaths to support the constitution of this state, I should like to think that each of you would also like to know if the legislation that created the Code Commission and Board of Judicial Conduct is repugnant to our state constitution.

This is no small matter!  In fact, it is the most gravely important matter before you for your consideration.

It was aggrieved in our Declaration of Independence; “For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments

Our state constitution establishes our form of government as stated in the last paragraph of the preamble; “We, the delegates and representatives of the people of the state of Tennessee, … have ordained and established the following Constitution and form of governmentfor this state, which we recommend to the people of Tennessee for their ratification:”

That form of government established in our state constitution prohibits judges from having seats in the General Assembly (Art II, § 26), and it prohibits judges from holding any other office of trust or profit (Art VI, § 7).  There is good reason for those provisions: to protect the people from tyranny and oppression, aka corruption.

Tenn. Code Ann. 1-1-101 that created the TCC, and 17-5-201 that created the new reconstituted TBJC in 2019, replacing the 1971 TBJC are unlawful alterations of the form of government ratified by the people, the same as aggrieved in our Declaration of Independence.

It is my strong opinion, that the General Assembly having unlawfully altered our form of government, has no lawful authority to make law, since the acting form of government is NOT the form of government ratified by the people.

Of course, that is too big a mess to untangle (for now) so let’s not go there.  Instead, let us simply restore the form of government ratified by the people.

The TBJC should be abolished and oversight of the judiciary restored to the Houses (See Art. V and Art. VI, § 6). 

The TCC should be reconstituted without the Justices of the Tenn. Sup. Ct. and Attorney General as members.  I recommend a legislative committee, with necessary support staff be established to perform the duties of the TCC so as to preserve legislative intent, and provide transparency to the public.

Now that all of you esteemed members of the General Assembly know that no other member has proven me wrong, and that the justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court and judges of the TBJC have also not been able to prove me wrong, I implore you to take action to restore the form of government established in our beloved Constitution of the State of Tennessee.

The least any one of you esteemed members can and should do, is seek legal opinion from the Office of Attorney General & Reporter.

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