Gavel Grab

Concern Over the Future of Tennessee’s High Court Grows

Tennessee Democrats responded Wednesday to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s stated partisan goals for the state Supreme Court, The Chattanoogan reports. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said that governors have followed a “long tradition of merit-based selection that has for decades made Tennessee Courts a model for non-partisan, fair-minded decision making.” He further explained:

“The Courts are not intended to be just another partisan arm of government.  Our judges have an independent duty to uphold the laws passed by the peoples’ representatives – a duty that transcends the judges’ personal political beliefs.  We have seen in Washington and in other states that infusing the judicial selection process with politics has led to charges of bias and in some cases even corruption – charges that have threatened to undermine the integrity of the judiciary.  We don’t need that sort of thing here.”

Stewart ended with a call to “Tennesseans of both parties” to demand a continued apolitical selection process. Gov. Haslam will have the opportunity to nominate a third justice to the state high court after Justice Gary Wade retires in September. See the Knoxville News Sentinel to learn more about Wade, and watch Gavel Grab for developments on the selection process.

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