Compromise Would Reform TN Judicial Ethics Body

There is growing support in Tennessee’s legislature for a compromise plan to reform the way judges are held accountable, according to a (Nashville) Tennesseean article, and the state’s judges are said to agree to the compromise.

Gavel Grab has reported on Tea Party conservatives’  push for Tennessee legislators to take control over naming members of the discipline commission, called the Court of the Judiciary. The compromise version instead would make these changes:

  • The Court of the Judiciary, as the state’s judicial discipline commission now is known, would be replaced by a new “board of judicial conduct.”
  • All power to appoint members would be removed from the Tennessee Supreme Court, which now picks 10 of the 16 members.
  • Ten judges currently sit on the panel; the new board would have 10 current or former judges. Statewide judicial conferences would appoint four of the current or former jurists, and the House and Senate speakers would pick two more, from a list of six candidates furnished by the Tennessee Judicial Conference.
  • The new board would provide more reports to lawmakers than has the Court of the Judiciary, and the board would have a lower standard for conducting a full investigation.

State judges were successful in stalling a more drastic overhaul version proposed by state Sen. Mae Beavers.  Her bill sought to get rid of the existing board and start over by cutting it to 12 members, including four sitting judges and one retiree, all named by speakers of the House or Senate.

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