Proposal would prevent courts from overriding TN legislature - WSMV Channel 4

Proposal would prevent courts from overriding TN legislature

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A plan in the Tennessee legislature has some people accusing state leaders of a power grab.

But lawmakers think judges are taking the right to make decisions away from the legislature, and have a plan some say does the exact opposite.

Over the past few years, the courts have had their say on some high-profile pieces of legislation. From throwing out abortion restrictions to temporarily halting the guns in bars law, the decisions haven't always made lawmakers happy.

"I think people should be concerned with what's going on in our courts today with them trying to set policy and that's the job of the legislature," said State Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet.

It is a conversation that has made national headlines with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggesting abolishing some courts.

Beavers said it is a conversation worth having in the legislature, so that is why she introduced a bill that prohibits the Supreme Court and other courts in Tennessee from overturning laws the legislature passes.

"This is to create some interest and have some more discussion about what the proper role of the branches of government. We're supposed to be separate but equal," Beavers said.

Attorney Adam Dread helped orchestrate the legal challenge to the guns in bars law.

"I think the governor may need to watch his back. If this one goes through, he may be next," Dread said.

Dread said this looks like a legislative power grab that leaves Tennesseans with little protection.

"It makes really no sense at all. It makes the legislature pretty much the absolute authority, and there's no protection for individuals who feel they've been wronged by any law whether it be cuckoo or not," he said.

Beavers disputed that claim, saying it is judges that have overstepped their bounds.

New Hampshire has tried to pass a similar bill for a couple of years.

The plan does not have a sponsor in the Tennessee House, but Beavers is hoping it will generate a conversation on the local level about the proper role of courts.

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