With the U.S. Judicial Conference declaring a judicial emergency because of a vacancy and with the state's two senators unequivocally expressing support for the president's nominees, why can't we get judges confirmed by the Senate:
Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments, however. Because Obama is so unpopular with the Republican Party, many Republican senators do not desire handing over the keys to too many courthouses. To observers, the reason for the hold-up is obvious.
"The Senate appears to be responding to only one variable at present," said Tracey George, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt Law School who examines judicial selection and elections. "That variable is the presidential race."
AG Herb Slatery quashed chatter that he's among the governor's top choices to replace state Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade:
“The State is facing an important decision, appointing and confirming someone to the Supreme Court position recently vacated by Judge Gary Wade. This will be the first appointment after the recently passed constitutional amendment dealing with judicial appointments.
I am sure the Governor and the General Assembly will make it a smooth process. There has been a fair amount of speculation not only about possible candidates, but also about how confirmation will work.
While my name has been mentioned in some of the conversations, a compliment that I really appreciate, I want to clarify that I do not intend to submit an application for the position.
The Court appointed me as Attorney General less than a year ago, to possibly take another position in a few months would be to leave a job unfinished. A number of people, talented people, have changed course in several ways to come and work with our office. Honoring that commitment to them and the other fine employees of this office is important to me. Changing directions in midstream and applying for another position feels like it is more about me than it should be at this point.
I am quite confident the Governor will appoint, and the General Assembly will confirm, the very best person to succeed Judge Wade. Those are big shoes to fill. Governor Haslam already has a good track record on appointing excellent judges. His decision here will not be any different.”
Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Gary Wade put in his last day on the job Tuesday, so now it's up to the Governor's Council for Judicial Appointments to find his replacement from the state's Eastern or Western grand divisions. Check out all the information on applications, which are due Oct. 12, here.
A release from Rep. Mike Stewart a few days after former Chief Justice Gary Wade said he'll retire in September:
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart issues the following response to reports that Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey intends to let partisan politics dictate the choice for the next Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.
“Until now, Tennessee Governors of both parties have picked Justices of our highest court based on merit, not politics. For example, in 2007 Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen selected Justice Bill Koch, who had earlier served as Legal Counsel to Republican Governor Lamar Alexander. In so doing, Governor Bredesen was following a long tradition of merit-based selection that has for decades made Tennessee Courts a model for non-partisan, fair-minded decision making.”
“Now Lieutenant Governor Ramsey has stated publicly that he wants to end all that, openly pushing for a ‘Republican Supreme Court majority’. Respectfully, the Lieutenant Governor’s position would be a wrong turn for our state. 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.”
“Tennesseans of both parties should oppose the Lieutenant Governor’s plan to turn the selection of our next Supreme Court justice into a Washington-style political circus; they should demand that our next Supreme Court Justice be selected on the basis of his or her qualifications and experience, not his or her ability to pass a political litmus test cooked up by Lieutenant Governor Ramsey.”
Attorneys interested in filling the Bankruptcy Court bench seat that will be vacated by Keith Lundin next June have until Aug. 25 to submit their applications to the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. The job's term is 14 years and pays more than $185,000 per year. Check out more info here.
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