News release from Vanderbilt University:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The end of the state Judicial Nominating Commission will not cause any hitches in the nomination of judges in Tennessee including a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder, said a Vanderbilt Law School professor.
The state legislature is shutting down the commission June 30, and voters will not vote on the amendment outlining the new procedure to pick judges until next year.
Holder plans to retire Aug. 31, 2014. The Judicial Nominating Commission has been involved in presenting nominees to the governor for Supreme Court and appeals court vacancies.
“In my view, Tennessee law has been amended over the years to permit for the selection of appellate judges and interim trial judges to continue uninterrupted and with only minor changes from the status quo when the commission expires,” writes Brian T. Fitzpatrick, professor of law at Vanderbilt Law School, in a paper for The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, Sunsetting the Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission: What Now?
News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
Memphis, Tenn. – After more than 17 years and many firsts, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice M. Holder will make August 31, 2014, her last day with the state’s highest court.
Justice Holder announced that she is retiring at the end of her current term and will not seek re-election in the August 2014 judicial retention election. She notified Gov. Bill Haslam by letter today.
“It has been my privilege to serve the people of Tennessee as a trial judge and Supreme Court justice – and an honor to have been selected by my fellow justices as the first female chief justice in our state’s history,” Justice Holder said.
Justice Holder, the third woman to serve on the Tennessee Supreme Court, was the first woman to serve as chief justice, a role she held from September 2008 through August 2010. During the Court’s current term, the position of chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court has rotated, each chief justice serving a two-year term.
(Note: This updates, expands and replaces earlier post)
State attorney general Bob Cooper says a new state law protecting handgun permit holders from criminal prosecution for keeping their guns in locked cars still leaves them vulnerable to being fired by employers who prohibit weapons on their premises.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said the opinion, made public Wednesday, “ignores the clear legislative intent of the law.” (Note: full text of opinion HERE)
John Harris, president of the Tennessee Firearms Association, said Cooper’s analysis is correct and echoes points that Second Amendment advocates raised during legislative debate, only to be ignored by Republican legislative leadership.
The attorney general’s opinion, requested by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, also addresses four legal questions raised about the so-called “guns in parking lots” law enacted earlier this year.
Two of them were the subject of considerable debate, including amendments offered on the House floor by Rep. John Mark Windle, D-Livingston, who had Harris’ help in drafting them.
Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mark Clayton, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, calls for an investigation into whether state Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester “and other Tennessee Democratic Party bosses” violated the federal Voting Rights Act Rights Act by disavowing his win in the Aug. 2 primary.
The proposition seems to be that, since many minority voters supported Clayton in the primary, their votes were compromised by the disavowal of Clayton as the party nominee.
Clayton was joined in signing the letter by Bishop Felton M. Smith, senior pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church of God in Christ in Nashville, who – based on Internet media reports – previously joined a group of black ministers opposing re-election of President Obama because of his support for same-sex marriage.
Clayton and Smith signed the letter at a news conference, which apparently was poorly attended based on a Google check for coverage. In an email, Clayton advises: There would have been more leaders present and more signers to the letter, but the action was taken on short notice. Democrats want voter protection from the self-appointed state party bosses. There is deep and growing support for the investigation effort which will continue indefinitely as a voting rights issue beyond any particular political campaign. We feel that Attorney General Holder will do the right thing. If not, we will push for congressional hearings in Washington.
The letter is below.