Beginning late yesterday and continuing today, an automated phone operation commonly known as "robocalling" has targeted Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
The calls urge individuals to relay a message to him about changing how judges are selected in Tennessee. The funny thing is, Ramsey has already stated publicly on a number of occasions that he, too, wants the process changed.
NashvillePost.com sources familiar with the calls say that a recorded voice asks individuals who are "against liberal Nashville lawyers" deciding who should be judges to voice their concerns to Ramsey by "pressing 1." When the number is punched, they are then connected directly to Ramsey's legislative office.
At issue is the "Tennessee Plan," the selection method for Tennessee jurists. The plan essentially entrusts the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission, whose members hail from across the state and are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House, with providing the Governor with a list from which he can choose jurists.
The plan "sunset," or expired, last year and legislators will have to have a new system put in place by the end of this legislative session. An opinion published earlier this year by Attorney General Bob Cooper confirmed that, without a new plan, there will no method to replace judges who leave the bench.
Officials from Ramsey's office confirmed that they had been getting phone calls directed to them because of the robocalls, but declined to comment further. Other legislative leaders contacted by NashvillePost.com said that they had not been targeted in the phone operation.
Why Ramsey was targeted in the effort is puzzling to many people familiar with judicial selection. Whomever is responsible for the calls is apparently spending money trying to influence someone who was already on record calling for change in the selection process.