Tennessee Judicial Evaluation Committee Faces Inquiry

A Tennessee legislator has introduced an inquiry into the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission (JPEC), saying it could be prone to lawsuits.

Rep. Judd Matheny told The Tennessean that he is concerned that Tennessee may face lawsuits over whether the JPEC, which has the sole power to determine if appellate judges stand unopposed for retention elections, violated the law when it met and made decisions.

In January, Davidson County Circuit Judge Hamilton “Kip” Gayden ruled the panel’s current make-up is unconstitutional because it does not adequately reflect Tennessee’s population (see Gavel Grab).

“Diversity is necessary for justice, necessary for democracy,” said Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, in forcefully articulating the committee’s frustration. “The longer that they sit the more questionable their actions are. We have to move on this, and we have to move quickly.”

According to the paper, the operations committee voted unanimously to have its Judiciary subcommittee hear testimony and determine what remediation needs to be done.

The retention election is scheduled for Aug. 7.

This committee is not associated with the judicial selection/nomination part of the Tennessee Plan.

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