News release from Administrative Office of the Courts:
The Judicial Nominating Commission met on June 27 in Chattanooga, June 28, 2013 in Nashville, and June 29 in Jackson to hold public hearings and conduct interviews of candidates for the upcoming Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Appeals vacancies.
After interviewing a total of 35 candidates for the three positions, the commission selected these attorneys for nomination to Governor Bill Haslam for consideration in the following openings. Two panels were forwarded for each vacancy because the governor has the option to reject the first panel and the Judicial Nominating Commission, which by law ceases to exist after June 30, 2013 would not be able to act and select a second panel.
The openings are created by the announcements by Judge Joseph Tipton, Judge Patricia Cottrell and Judge Alan E. Highers that they will not seek retention in the August 2014 election.
The list of nominees is below.
The Tennessee Judicial Nominating Commission on Thursday selected nominees to submit to Gov. Bill Haslam for a position on the Eastern Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Solemnly arrayed in the Sheraton Read House Terrace Room, 15 applicants made statements before a panel of 15 nominating commission members, who then interviewed each candidate in turn.
Traditionally, the commission submits only one panel of three names for the governor to review. If he rejects those three applicants, members vote on a second panel of names. However, the commission will cease to exist at midnight Sunday when the legislative provisions creating it expire.
“It’s different from what we’ve done historically because the commission sunsets at the end of the month,” said J. Bartlett Quinn, a Chattanooga attorney and commission secretary.
To ensure the commission fulfills its function one last time, the commissioners submitted a second panel of names in the event that Haslam rejects the first three.
The two lists: Panel A
• Boyd Patterson, assistant district attorney in Chattanooga
• Robert Montgomery, a criminal court judge in the 2nd Judicial District, from Blountville, Tenn.
• Thomas Wright, a circuit court judge in the 3rd Judicial District in Greeneville, Tenn. Panel B
• William Jackson Brown, a Cleveland attorney
• Charles Edward Atchely Jr., a Knoxville attorney
• Samuel Lee, an attorney in Clinton, Tenn.
State Sen. Frank Niceley says he’s not surprised by a poll indicating that 93 percent of Tennesseans oppose his proposal to have the Republican and Democratic nominees to the U.S. Senate selected by the partisan caucuses of the state Legislature.
“Ninety-two percent of them don’t realize that before 1913 the founding fathers had legislatures select the senators,” he said. “They just need a little history lesson. … Once you explain to them that it’s a check on the runaway federal government, they get it.”
At another point in an interview Niceley said he is troubled that, for many citizens, “the only thing that exceeds the ignorance is the apathy.”
“If you asked people should they even have a Legislature, 75 percent of them might say no,” he said. “They don’t realize the Legislature already selects the state treasurer, the comptroller and the secretary of state.”
State legislators would pick nominees for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seats under a bill approved by a state Senate committee with unanimous Republican support on Tuesday.
The bill by Sen. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, calls for the House and Senate Republican Caucuses, meeting jointly, to choose the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate. The Democratic caucuses, in turn, would select the Democratic nominee.
The new system would not take effect until after the 2014 general election, meaning U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander would face reelection under the current system of voters picking nominees in contested primary elections. But if the bill (SB471) passes, senators would be chosen by the new process.
The bill (SB471) was appoved by the Senate State and Local Government Committee with all seven Republican members backing it. One Democrat, Sen. Reginald Tate of Memphis, voted no and the other Democratic member abstained.
Niceley noted that, prior to passage of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1913, state legislators directly picked U.S. senators. Senators have since been chosen by popular election, but Niceley said that Constitution does not say how candidates for the Senate must be chosen.
Most states have contested primaries for the Republican and Democratic nominations, but some have party caucus meetings instead. Under his plan, which Niceley said originated with the Goldwater Institute, legislators would basically act as a caucus picking nominees.
“That gets us back about half of what we lost in 1913, maybe a little bit more,” said Niceley.
He said “everybody agrees that Washington is broke” and his proposal is a step toward repair, selecting candidates while bypassing the Washington network of fundraising and lobbyists.
“This is sort of jerking their chain (in Washington),” he said. “If we don’t have the nerve to do this, we don’t deserve to be sitting here.”
— UPDATE: The bill cleared its first hurdle in the House, the State Government Subcommittee, on a voice vote Wednesday with Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, as sponsor.
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Wednesday TVA could be destroyed if it remains under the federal government control and suggested that the region’s governors could be better overseers of the agency providing electricity to 9 million people in seven states.
“On most days in Washington, I fear the federal government is going to destroy TVA,” Corker told reporters following a speech to the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.
The senator has previously expressed concern about the lack of corporate executive experience on the TVA board of directors, saying its “entire governance structure” needs to be reviewed. On Wednesday, he elaborated on some possible ways of restructuring while stressing “I’m not proposing anything” at this point.