How would Tennessee House Speaker Casada be ousted from office?

Hank Hayes • May 20, 2019 at 12:26 PM

The Tennessee House Republican Caucus will meet Monday in Nashville to discuss what should happen with House Speaker Glen Casada, a Franklin Republican.

According to the Associated Press, at least 10 GOP lawmakers have called for Casada to step down as speaker, as have Democratic lawmakers and advocacy groups upset with the series of text message scandals that include Casada’s former chief of staff sending racist messages, accusations of evidence tampering and Casada participating in sexually explicit texts with his top aide. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, has said on social media that he thinks Casada should resign.

But the bar to oust Casada from office looks rather high.

According to the Tennessee Constitution, each house of the General Assembly may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of a two-thirds vote, expel a member, but not a second time for the same offense. The political makeup of the House is 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats. So a no-confidence vote by the House GOP Caucus could force a resignation.

The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment, but all impeachments must be tried by the Senate.

“When sitting for that purpose, the senators shall be upon oath or affirmation, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, or if he be on trial, the senior associate judge, shall preside over them,” the state constitution says. “No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the senators sworn to try the officer impeached. The House of Representatives shall elect from their own body three members, whose duty it shall be to prosecute impeachments. No impeachment shall be tried until the Legislature shall have adjourned sine die, when the Senate shall proceed to try such impeachment.

“The governor, judges of the Supreme Court, judges of the inferior courts, chancellors, attorneys for the state, treasurer, comptroller, and secretary of state, shall be liable to impeachment (who) … in the opinion of the House of Representatives, commit any crime in their official capacity which may require disqualification but judgment shall only extend to removal from office, and disqualification to fill any office thereafter. The party shall, nevertheless, be liable to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law. The Legislature now has, and shall continue to have, power to relieve from the penalties imposed, any person disqualified from holding office by the judgment of a Court of Impeachment.”

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