Free-Market Group Leader Backs Change in TN Judicial Selection

A constitutional amendment to change the way Tennessee selects its appellate judges gets a vote of support in a Tennessean op-ed from Justin Owen, president and CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a free-market think tank.

“I’ll be voting ‘Yes on 2’ in November because it is the best approach to choosing competent, fair and impartial judges, while holding them accountable to the people of our state,” Owen writes.

The revised system for choosing appellate judges would include gubernatorial appointment subject to legislative confirmation. It provides for retention (up-or-down) elections when judges seek a new term.

Meanwhile Gavel to Gavel, a publication of the National Center for State Courts, gives a lengthy explanation of how the constitutional amendment would work. It notes that unlike in a number of other states, “Tennessee’s governor has by executive order created a commission to submit recommendations to him for future [judicial] vacancies but there is no statutory or constitutional provision binding him or those who follow him from using the commission.” The National Center for State Courts is a JAS partner organization.

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