Attempts to end Tennessee’s system of appointing appellate judges have encountered a signfiicant snag. According to a news article, the state attorney general said judicial vacancies can’t be filled unless the legislature passes new laws laying out how judicial elections will be held.
The opinion from Attorney General Robert Cooper was sought by four Senate Republicans, whose party leaders have led attempts to end Tennessee’s system of appointing appellate and Supreme Court judges. The senators said they may either have to write laws with new election procedures, or to maintain the state’s current practice of using a judicial selection commission to identify slates of judicial nominees.
The legislature last year allowed the nominating commission to begin expiring through a “sunset” provision,” which would happen by July 1 if the state legislature does not shift course. According to an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R), who has helped push efforts to scrap the commission process, said he expects some movement toward a compromise this week.