Sen. Mae Beavers' push to let voters elect the attorney general ended for the year Wednesday when it failed by two votes on the Senate floor. The measure fell 15-14 with one voting present. Three other members who were in attendance but chose not to vote were Republicans Sens. Janice Bowling and Todd Gardenhire and leading Democrat Jim Kyle.
Members last year voted 22-0 to require the attorney general be selected by a joint convention of the General Assembly. Any change requires an edit to the constitution and would take years to accomplish if successful. The AG is now appointed by the Supreme Court. Some video of the debate is here.
Attorney General Bob Cooper for years has caught heat from the Republican legislature for various opinions he has issued and decisions he has made not to join lawsuits against the federal government. Beavers, who often led that criticism, told reporters after the vote she will not try her luck again this year.
Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch, Jr. reportedly told the governor today he'll retire in July to become dean of the Nashville School of Law. Justice Janice Holder also plans an exit next year. From the Inbox:
“My service on the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court has been rewarding and meaningful, and I was looking forward to the opportunity to serve as Chief Justice next fall,” Justice Koch added. “However, when the Board of Trustees approached me about succeeding Dean Joe C. Loser, Jr., I realized that I could make no better use of my time and energies than becoming involved in the professional development of the women and men who desire to provide their fellow Tennesseans with excellent and affordable legal representation.”