Family and Personal:
Rep. Curcio is married with three children and is an insurance broker.
He is a member of the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum and City of Dickson BZA.
Council and Boards:
He is vice chair of the House Criminal Justice Committee. He is also a board member for Leadership Middle Tennessee and Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts of America. Finally, he serves on the City of Dickson Downtown Committee.
Rep. Michael Curcio (R): Chair, Criminal Justice Committee, Member: Calendar and Rules Committee, Civil Justice Committee, Civil Justice Subcommittee, and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
Chairman Curcio is a bright and gifted young man. As chair of the important Criminal Justice Committee, he wields a lot of power. For the most part, Chairman Curcio uses his position for the greater good. In some cases, however, we take issue with his actions.
Curcio lost additional points by voting for HB703, a bill that will provide a multi-million-dollar state funding grant for a proposed minor league baseball stadium for the Tennessee Smokies, a double-A team which is owned by University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd. Boyd and his wife Jenny are mega-multi-millionaires; why are Tennessee tax-payers financing his baseball enterprise?
Additionally, Tim Rudd, as Chairman of the Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee, filed a resolution, HR0023, that authorizes the Speaker of the House of Representatives to appoint a committee to meet with a like committee from the Senate to consider the removal of Ellen Hobbs Lyle from the office of Chancellor of the Twentieth Judicial District by the Tennessee General Assembly acting pursuant to Article VI, Section 6 of the Constitution of Tennessee.
Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled that the state’s limits on absentee voting during the pandemic constitute “an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution.” The judge wrote that any eligible voter could get an absentee ballot to avoid contracting or passing on COVID-19 in the “upcoming elections during the pendency of pandemic circumstances” (TNStar). The fact that all election laws and rulings are under the strict authority of the state legislature seemed to elude Judge Lyle. She had no authority to rule on anything that would alter electoral law.
Despite that reality and the fact that Chairman Rudd had 64 co-sponsors for his resolution, Andrew Farmer, Chairman of the Civil Justice subcommittee, in which the resolution was heard, and Chairman Curcio, chair of the Civil Justice full committee, appeared to conspire to politically ambush Rudd and his resolution:
1. Rudd’s main testifying witness was unable to be there because of illness so he began his presentation by asking for a roll (a postponement to a later meeting of the committee).
2 . Chairman Farmer ruled that three testifying witnesses supporting the Judge that were present, some from a considerable distance, would be allowed to testify, and “…we’ll take up your request after that.”
3 . After five minutes of irrelevant testimony (family history, friendship, etc.) from Celeste Herbert, a Knoxville lawyer, Chairman Bruce Griffey asked questions very pertinent to the case.
4. Herbert suggested that damaging comments by Lyle were taken out of context and that the transcripts would underscore that. Griffey posed that the entire General Assembly should get those transcripts and read them. That was ignored by the chair.
5. Bob Boston, a Nashville Attorney then testified and was corrected by the Chairman regarding the rolling of the bill. He once again said “…and we’ll take that matter up once we go back onto session.”
6. Boston proffered specious arguments that we could justly challenge here but will not take up the space; the outrage is over the violation of legislative process and common courtesy.
7. Once again, Griffey asks very pertinent questions which serve to expose Budd’s erroneous belief that the Supreme court is the final arbiter of all questions. Boston cannot be swayed.
8. Curcio mounted an impressive historical account of a similar question of judicial misconduct at the federal level back in 1804 where the judge under question prevailed and was not removed.
9. Curcio’s concluding remarks suggest that judges should only be removed for criminal misconduct or inability to perform their required duties; we respectfully disagree. Judicial overreach into to the authority of either of the other branches disrupts the balance of powers that are so critical to the survival of our constitutional republic.
10. The third testifier was Judge Joe Riley. Bottom line: all three preferred to rely on the judicial system to adjudicate questions of the judiciary: The appellate system, the TN Supreme Court, and the Board of Judicial Conduct — a closed system of self-oversight.
11. Griffey asks Riley if there wasn’t a concerted effort leading up to the election to expand mail-in voting including a Perkins-Coie funded lawsuit that came before Judge Lyle. Chairman Farmer admonished Griffey to stay on the resolution.
12. Exceptional arguments by Griffey outlining avenues the Judge could have and should have taken.
13. As soon as Chairman Farmer resumed regular order, Curcio called for the question. What happened to “…we’ll take that matter up once we go back onto session”?
Quoting Chairman Farmer: “…the point of order, if that’s what you’re asking (Griffey), is this; Representative Rudd said that he was going to request a roll. We went out of session, as soon as we came back into session, there’s been a motion made for previous question. That’s a non-debatable question. There was no motion made to roll this bill by any member of the committee, so right now we’re on the motion — we’re on previous question. Any objections? I see an objection (Griffey) so we’re going to vote on previous question. All those In favor (of the previous question) say aye, (Response) those opposed say no (response), Ayes have it. (Gavel comes down)
A questionable voice-vote was then taken, first on “any objection” and then a rushed vote on HR0023 so that responses were mixed and unclear. A roll-call vote was requested by Griffey but denied by Chairman Farmer. The rules were challenged and objected to by Griffey but ignored as “…a question for the clerk” By Farmer.
Voice Vote – Nays Prevail. Rep(s). Griffey, Ogles requested to be recorded as voting Aye. Rep(s). Garrett requested to be recorded as Present Not Voting. Voting nay: Farmer, Curcio, Clemmons, Parkinson, Ramsey.
This whole drama appeared to be orchestrated by certain members, including the two chairmen. To watch the proceedings, go to: https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HR0023
Click on Item: HR0023
This was a disgrace and embarrassment for the entire General Assembly.
FYI: Statewide jurisdiction has since been removed from Davidson County and Judge Lyle has announced her impending retirement.