APPOINTMENT AND CONFIRMATION OF APPELLATE COURT JUDGES: SJR 0710 by *Kelsey
Constitutional Amendments - AMENDMENT #2 rewrites this joint resolution to replace Article VI, Section 3 of the state
constitution, which requires that the judges of the supreme court must
be elected by the qualified voters of the state, to require that judges
of the supreme court or any intermediate appellate court be appointed
for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the sole discretion of
the governor based on merit; must be confirmed by the Legislature; and
thereafter, must be elected in a retention election by the qualified
voters of the state. Confirmation by default will occur if the general
assembly fails to reject an appointee within 60 calendar days of either
the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session,
or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made
out of session. This amendment authorizes the general assembly to
prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out the
appointment, confirmation and retention of appellate court judges.
STATUS: On third and final consideration, April 23rd,SJR710 passed the Senate Floor 22-9.
voting aye were: Barnes, Beavers, Bell, Crowe, Faulk, Finney L, Ford,
Gresham, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Massey, McNally, Norris, Overbey,
Roberts, Southerland, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Mr. Speaker
Ramsey -- 22.
Senators voting no were: Berke, Burks, Campfield, Haynes, Henry, Herron, Kyle, Marrero, Stewart -- 9.
On Thursday, SJR710 passed the House floor on 70-27-1.
with all proposed Constitutional Amendments, SJR710 will have to be
brought back after the next election to the 108th General Assembly where
the exact language will have to pass by a 2/3rds vote then go on the
ballot at the next gubentorial election where it must pass by 50%+1 of
the votes cast in the governor's race.
Janice Johnson is Opposed to Governor Haslam's Plan: The Tennessee Constitution clearly states that the Justices of the Supreme Court and all lower courts should be elected (not
selected by a bunch of lawyers as has been the process for filling
vacancies on the Appellate and Supreme Court for the past 41 years).
This legislation is attempting to change the Constitution to allow for
the current process of selecting judges to be made “constitutional” by
submitting a ballot initiative in 2014. In order to amend the
Constitution, a SJR 710 has to pass two consecutive legislative
sessions. Then, the proposed Constitutional amendment will go on the
next ballot for a referendum (voted by the people) to amend (or to not
to amend) the Constitution.
SJR 710 passes again in the next legislative session (by a required
2/3rds vote). We the people will have the opportunity to vote (ratify)
away our right to vote for our Supreme Court and Appellate Court judges
forever. The lobbyist for the judges are well funded by taxpayer
dollars, trial lawyers and big business. The trial lawyers and big business have a lot at stake and will most certainly fund the propaganda campaign to convince us that “merit selection” (read: trust the lawyers to choose our judges for us) is in our best interest.
same year, 2014, the Supreme Court and Appellate Court Justices will
also come up for a retention (yes or no) vote. A retention vote (‘yes’
or ‘no’) is not an election. As David Barton pointed out, retention
elections usually result in lifetime appointments because the people are
so clueless they usually vote “yes” instead of “no” to retain the
judges in judicial retention elections. I ALWAYS vote “NO”. A
retention election is not the same as a general election as specified in
the Constitution (see below). So, in 2014, we will have the same
unconstitutionally appointed judges up for a retention vote and will
most likely be serving for another eight years, leaving the status quo
(mostly Democrats) in place until 2022, unless, of course they retire or
are removed in between time.
Sharyn Bovat is Supporting Governor Haslam’s Plan:
Haslam is the first Governor that has "tried" to make the courts align
with the constitution and realistically change does not happen overnight, at
least he has a plan. as long as the people that live in Tennessee have a voice
(they do with a state wide ballot initiative) - it's OK. Yes Janice is right
about the state not honoring the constitution: What Tennessee has been doing for
41+ years is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and if people took that literally then ALL
criminals in jail should be released.
What matters to Sharyn is
how the COJ oversight is monitored. ALL she wants are ethical judges who
have open minds: Cronyism happens with elected judges too.
Section 1. The
judicial power of this State shall be vested in one Supreme Court and
in such Circuit, Chancery and other inferior Courts as the Legislature
shall from time to time, ordain and establish; in the Judges thereof,
and in Justices of the Peace. The Legislature may also vest such jurisdiction in Corporation Courts as may be deemed necessary. Courts to be holden by Justices of the Peace may also be established.
Section 2. The
Supreme Court shall consist of five Judges, of whom not more than two
shall reside in any one of the grand divisions of the State. The Judges
shall designate one of their own number who shall preside as Chief
Justice. The concurrence of three of the Judges shall in every case be
necessary to a decision. The
jurisdiction of this Court shall be appellate only, under such
restrictions and regulations as may from time to time be prescribed by
law; but it may possess such other jurisdiction as is now conferred by
law on the present Supreme Court. Said Court shall be held at Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson.
(Who makes the law? The Representatives of the people, the General
Assembly. Who sets the jurisdiction of the courts? The General
Section 3. The Judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the State. The Legislature shall have power to prescribe such rules
as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of section two of this
article. Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be thirty-five years of
age, and shall before his election have been a resident of the State for
five years. His term of service shall be eight years.
Section 4. The
Judges of the Circuit and Chancery Courts, and of other inferior
Courts, shall be elected by the qualified voters of the district or
circuit to which they are to be assigned.
Every Judge of such Courts shall be thirty years of age, and shall
before his election, have been a resident of the State for five years,
and of the circuit or district one year. His term of service shall be