CARSON CITY, NV - The drama surrounding embattled Nevada Assemblyman Steven Brooks continues. The Nevada Supreme Court responded Wednesday to Brooks' claim: The Assembly acted unconstitutionally by ousting him from the legislative body. The assembly has until March 18th to respond to those claims.
Nevada's Constitution allows for the assembly to remove someone from its midst.
However, how it is done is another story.
Nothing like this has happened in Nevada's history.
But that happens next will set the course should something like this happen again. .
Nevada's Supreme Court has taken embattled Assemblyman's Steven Brook's writ--a claim that the assembly has no right to prevent him from serving in the legislature--and placed in back the the Assembly's court.
The assembly has 11 days to say why it has the constitutional right to suspend one of their own.
While that's not in question, what happens next is.
“Article 4 Section 6 of the constitution clearly outlines what they can do, what they don't have is a playbook. Maybe they are preparing it now. But they haven't necessarily adopted rules for their game plan,” says Guy Rocha, former State Archivist.
We interviewed Rocha in the historic assembly chambers at the Capitol.
Fitting as the last time something like this happened was 1867 when an assemblyman from Storey County was almost banned from a special session.
In 2013, a select panel of the assembly in the legislature is in the process of hiring a private attorney to investigate the case against Mr Brooks.
The assemblyman has allegedly threatened to kill the Speaker, he is accused of domestic violence, as well as assault of a police officer, and been denied the purchase of a gun.
In retaliation the assembly suspended him from serving in the 2013 session.
All of this appears logical and legal,
Not so fast says Rocha.
“Certainly appears to be very erratic and he does have an arrest record. Not only is he innocent until proven guilty but he's a duly elected member of the Nevada Assembly,” says Rocha.
Lawmakers are keenly aware of that and understand what they do now, will set a precedent should something like this happen again.
The Legislative Council Bureau's Rick Combs says once the private attorney collects his evidence, Brooks will be allowed to present his side of the story.
Will it be in front of the Select Committee or in front of the entire Assembly, will it be at the Legislative Building if Brooks has been denied access or somewhere else?
Will the press be allowed to cover the proceedings?
All questions that are currently up in the air.
The Select Committee of the Assembly will most likely make a recommendation to the assembly, as a whole, as to what actions it should take against Steven Brooks.
A simple majority vote could suffice on every action except expulsion.
That requires a two thirds majority vote.