Cherokee History continued.
To begin with, here are a few words from David Cornsilk who was managing editor of the newly formed news paper, the Cherokee Observer at the time of Byrd’s election and his tenure as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.
"I was at the Cherokee Nation complex nearly every day during the Byrd years. I reported on the tribe for the Cherokee Observer and worked closely with other media outlets to cover tribal affairs. The appearance of professionalism at the complex was impeccable. Everyone dressed nice, except on Fridays when Byrd allowed Blue Jeans. Despite the growing crisis outside the complex, the employees of CNO seemed to be genuinely happy with their jobs. Even though I was much more involved in internal tribal affairs then than I am now, thus more accessible, I took fewer calls from disgruntled employees in those four years.
It is true that someone in survival mode, as Joe Byrd was from nearly the first month of his administration, might do some very unethical things, as Joe did, his relationship with the employees and the level of concern and professionalism toward them is absolutely equal to and I believe better than Chad, notwithstanding the constitutional crisis he created.
And please don't take this message as support for Joe Byrd. While I believe the crisis he created was ignited by Wilma Mankiller and Pat Ragsdale (and Chad Smith just took advantage of it), Joe Byrd was responsible for his actions and his attempted destruction of the judicial branch of our government was reprehensible."
The whole thing was began with the Cherokee court ordering Byrd to produce document that some one had claimed would show he has misappropriated funds, turns out he had not, but his actions an reactions cause the turmoil that ensued for his four year term: Thus being deem a Constitutional Crisis and so named. You can see a good account of the Byrd Years here http://www.thepeoplespaths.net/Cherokee/News/CNCtimeline.htm Though I believe it was written a little slanted by Smiths people to depict Joe Byrd worse than what he actually was.
All the request for this information, that should have been provided without the necessity of a court action, was refused or ignored by Byrd.
The ongoing refusal, combined with other information, resulted in the search warrant, as a necessary last resort. On the basis of those documents concocted, actually questionable as to how they were obtained and by whom... Tribal Prosecutor A. Diane Blalock charged Byrd with misappropriation of funds. Byrd claims he has done nothing wrong, and it can all be explained by accounting errors, yet the financial records with those accounting errors have not seen the light of public scrutiny. He has pledged accountability again-and-again, yet he remains unaccountable, refusing to make the constitutionally-required information public and firing everyone who has tried to make those documents public in compliance with the constitution.
In the end Byrd was exonerated on that and when he left office, loosing to Chad Smith in 1999, who was eventually forced to admit he came in to office of Principal Chief of CNO to a surplus of funds in the CNO coffers.
Chief Justice Keen issues a statement declaring "the Cherokee Nation is in a crisis" and Byrd "has set himself up as being above the law" and promises "aggressive action to restore the constitutional government of the Cherokee Nation." Justice Birdwell orders Battles and Thomas to appear in court in Mar. 96 on charges of contempt.
One of the worst ever days in Cherokee history modern, or old , Byrd hired a non-Indian attorney to provide one of the most ludicrous interpretations of a document in the history of Cherokee involvement with law. The interpretation will seen as the worst ever destroyer Cherokee sovereignty since Andrew Jackson. The attorney, Thomas Seymour of Tulsa, was paid $100,000 or more for the act. In the Seymour-Byrd ruling, Seymour offered an interpretation that could not stand up to ethical and legal analysis by even student of law.
Article V. Legislature, Section 4, emphatically states: "No business shall be conducted by the Council unless at least two-thirds (2/3) of members thereof regularly elected and qualified shall be in attendance, which number shall constitute a quorum."
At no place in the document is this superseded, and certainly not in Section 5 of Article V, which immediately follows the ruling requiring a quorum to conduct business and which states: "Special meetings of the Council may be called, upon written request of fifty-one percent (51%) of the members of the Council...
Defying all logic of law, Seymour cited that section as a basis for interpreting a rule to conduct business as a council or a "Council Court" from a quorum of ten to a simple majority of eight. Eight of 15 council members, in the absence of six members, they did and voted to begin impeachment proceedings against the judges of the Cherokee Court.
Eight of 15 members of the council conduct a "court of removal" using a number of frivolous charges and, in an unprecedented act, "impeached" the three justices. The Cherokee Justices refused to Step Down as was reported by the Tulsa World News article.
In the end as the old saying goes it was laughed out of court as the most asinine gibberish ever by a lawyer.