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Supreme Court “Pay-To-Play,” “Justice-For-Sale” rule challenged
Published November 29, 2023

LAWRENCEBURG, TN - Local resident, Arthur Jay Hirsch, a.k.a. "Fiddleman," widely known for his nursing home gospel music ministry, is challenging the Tennessee Supreme Court’s appellate Rule 6(a) as unconstitutionally applied, which demands a pre-paid litigation tax/filing fee ($550.00) before he can exercise his constitutionally protected right to appellate review following his misdemeanor conviction.

The Tennessee Constitution, Art. I, § 17, “Open Courts Clause,” guarantees the People the right to access the courts of Tennessee without sale, denial, or delay. (Also, Art. XI, § 16, Transgression and Exception Clause).

Currently, appellate Rule 6(a) is being misapplied to the injury of many people of Tennessee, by imposing a sizeable levy of litigation privilege taxes and fees to the detriment of their constitutionally protected rights of access to justice without sale, equal protection of the laws, due process, and the right of petition and address), amounting to a “pay-to-play” or “justice-for-sale” scheme.

Preliminary litigation taxes/filing fees under Rule 6(a), are “privilege taxes” (Art. II, § 28), which are imposed on regulated privilege licensees (e.g. doctors, licensed attorneys, truckers, etc.) who are engaged in business or occupational activity (commerce) affecting the public interest, for private gain.

Since bar-licensed attorneys derive personal financial benefit and profit from the privileged use of the publicly funded court system, Hirsch says, “it is statutorally correct that all licensed attorneys be those subject to and liable for paying the required court litigation privilege taxes and administrative fees.” “It is by law incorrect and unjust for the unlicensed general public to be forced to pay the privilege tax in order to exercise their inviolable constitutionally secured rights.”

Hirsch alleges that the misapplication of the Supreme Court rule is patently unconstitutional, citing, “Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.” Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, 491 (1966).

Hirsch points out that "Government is instituted for the 'common benefit,’” (TN Const., Art. I § 2.) and Tennesseans, alike, pay for the state court system with their tax dollars. Charging citizens an additional “privilege tax” in order for them to gain access to courts of justice – which they’ve already paid for – is double taxation. Hirsch says, “It’s just as absurd as parents being forced to pay an extra tax to enroll their children in public school, or having to pay the fire department before they will respond to a fire.”

Upon Hirsch filing his initial constitutional challenge to the misapplied rule, the Tennessee Supreme Court fired off a quick, unsigned denial Order, stating, "The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is appellate only," – which is off point, since the Supreme Court, indeed, has original jurisdiction over its own rules (which Hirsch is challenging), and no lower court can rule on the matter. (The Tennessee Supreme Court has not responded to Hirsch’s latest Motion for Reconsideration and Oral Argument). Any adverse ruling by the state Supreme Court, would necessarily have to be heard by the United States Supreme Court, according to Railroad v. Bryne, 119 Tenn. 278, 104 S.W. 460 (1907).


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