Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey says he met privately over breakfast with state Supreme Court Justices Gary Wade and Sharon Lee after leading efforts to defeat them in the August retention election, but before they voted in a private meeting to replace state Attorney General Bob Cooper with Herbert Slatery.
Ramsey says the meeting was held to “bury the hatchet” and encourage the two Democratic judges’ selection of a “more conservative” state attorney general, according to Richard Locker’s report.
“I told them they won, I lost, their message won, and I hoped they would still be willing to reflect what I think are the values of the state of Tennessee and have a more conservative AG,” Ramsey told reporters a day after the Supreme Court on Monday replaced Democrat… Cooper with Republican Slatery, Gov. Bill Haslam’s legal counsel.
…Asked if there was any sort of threat, implicit or otherwise, that lawmakers would continue whittling away at judicial power if the justices didn’t appoint a Republican, Ramsey said: “Not on that front, but I will say that I think that there was tension between the legislative branch and the judicial branch and I’m willing to put all that behind us — and part of that would be an attorney general who thought like we did.
“I think all of us were ready to bury the hatchet and just say, ‘let’s move forward from this point.’ I don’t think there was anything implied in that.”
He said he did not specifically ask the justices to appoint a Republican. “No. I can honestly say neither time did it come up.”
Ramsey said that if the attorney general appointment had occurred immediately after the election, there might have been a backlash by the court against his work to defeat a majority of its members. “But we have had six weeks for cooler heads to prevail and make sure that we get the right person there.”
He said the judges didn’t tell him who they would appoint, “but I’d had a good feeling from a few weeks back that they were leaning at least in the Republican direction. I didn’t know who it would be…. We have some mutual friends that have been talking back and forth between some of us during that time period.”