Speaker of the Mississippi House Philip Gunn
House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton Credit: Gil Ford Photography

The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear arguments in a dispute over the use of an electronic reading machine during the recent legislative session.

This spring, Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, sued to prevent Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, from using a computer program to read the text of bills.

Under House rules, any member can ask the clerk to read bills aloud. This year, several Democrats asked to have bills read in protest of several actions by Gunn, including what they argued was being shut out of the legislative process.

In March, Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd sided with Hughes, issuing a temporary-restraining order. The state’s high court dissolved that order without explanation.

In an order issued May 9, justices said they wanted to hear oral arguments about why the judicial branch should weigh in on operations of another branch of government, the Legislature.

Justices Leslie King and Jim Kitchens dissented with the en banc order arguing that the case should go through the trial courts.

The hearing is scheduled for July 19.

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Ryan L. Nave, a native of University City, Mo., served as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief from May 2018 until April 2020. Ryan began his career with Mississippi Today February 2016 as an original member of the editorial team. He became news editor August 2016. Ryan has a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has worked for Illinois Times and served as news editor for the Jackson Free Press.