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Court of Appeals Judges Retreat from Hearing Hooker Lawsuit

Eleven of Tennessee’s 12 Court of Appeals judges have declined to hear an appeal of John Jay Hooker’s latest effort to invalidate the state’s system for selecting appeals court judges.
Hooker, who has twice been the Democratic party nominee for governor and has run unsuccessfully for others offices as well, has crusaded against the judicial selection system since filing his first lawsuit against it in 1996. Two years later, a specially-appointed State Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the plan in a separate lawsuit with Hooker involved.
In February of this year, Hooker filed another lawsuit, contending Gov. Bill Haslam’s appointment of Jeff Bivens to the Court of Criminal Appeals last year violates that state constitution. Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden dismissed the lawsuit, known as Hooker vs. Haslam, in June.
In appealing the dismissal, Hooker also filed motions calling on the Court of Appeals judges, as well as Supreme Court justices, to recuse themselves from hearing the appeal. Since they were selected by the present system, they all have a conflict of interest in deciding whether they were properly seated, he contended.

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