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When Politics, Not Law, Guides the Attorney General

Last week, Tennessee’s Attorney General, Herbert Slatery, issued an opinion regarding a law passed eighteen years ago that allowed courts to enhance a criminal sentence if the victim had been targeted because of the person’s “gender.”

He opined that “gender” referred to a psychological and cultural construct distinct from one’s biological sex and thus referred to a transgendered person. But since sex is not referenced in the statute and gender, he says, is different from biological sex, that means Attorney General Slatery has construed the law in a way that prohibits enhancement of a sentence because, for example, the criminal targeted the woman strictly because she was a woman.

That couldn’t have been the Legislature’s intent eighteen years ago, but that’s what happens when today’s politics, not law, becomes the Attorney General’s guiding principle.

The FACT Report, featured on several conservative radio stations, is a weekly one-minute audio commentary about a political or cultural issue affecting Tennesseans.

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