TN Legislature Looking to Change how Judges are Selected

TN Legislative update: a resolution passed both houses of the TN legislature that will put a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in November 2014.

This amendment will change how judges are appointed in TN – it will maintain the yes-no retention elections for Supreme Court justices and intermediate appellate level judges. However, there is currently an independent nominating commission that submits 3 names to the governor, who then selects one person to fill a vacancy. Under the new amendment, that process would be eliminated, and instead the governor would appoint anyone he chooses (at his discretion and without the input of an independent selection committee), and his nominee would then be confirmed by both houses of the TN legislature.

Some Tennesseans are concerned about replacing the current merit-based system with one that lends itself to being more politically biased.

On an interesting note, Tennessee has the most qualified judiciary of any state, and that has been credited, at least in part, to the current merit-based system for selection of judges.

Look for more news on this amendment’s progress and the pros and cons of the amendment as the 2014 election season approaches.

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