Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

Judicial selection and other videos

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Tennessee Supreme Court Selection

Tennessee voters in November amended the Tennessee Constitution to a "federal model" system in which the legislature confirms the governor's nominee to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The new constitutional provision in Article VI, Section 3 reads:

Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty 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. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article.

Legislation necessary to carry out this system divides the Tennessee House and Senate, as explained by Bill Raftery. The Senate passed a bill in which the nominee would have win separate votes in each house of the legislature, while the House approved a bill in which confirmation would be a single vote that combines all members of the house and senate.



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