Monday, March 30, 2009


Is the Tennessee GOP caving to the trial lawyers?

David Fowler of FACT thinks so.

Word leaked from the Legislature today (Monday) that key House and Senate leaders may seek to suspend the Rules in our State House of Representatives tonight to quickly move tomorrow a bill that would continue to prevent the people from voting for their state Supreme Court judges. This surprise maneuver would continue the current process by which Supreme Court judges are appointed by the Governor from a slate of three nominees submitted by a nominating committee composed of lawyers essentially selected by legal special interest groups. When no one can run against an incumbent judge and there is never a choice of judges, this is not an election as required by our state Constitution.

If what Fowler is alleging is true and there is a movement afoot to suspend the rules late on Monday for the judicial commission vote on Tuesday, then the Republicans do not deserve to be in power come 2010.

There has been quite a bit of discussion over whether Tennesseans are too stupid to be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to vote on the appellate judges of this state (the lefty trial lawyers obviously think they can't be trusted with such a responsibility), or whether lobbyists and kingmakers should be allowed to choose the appellate judges in the backrooms of state government. Some of that discussion was over an Attorney General's opinion issued last week. The AP wrote an erroneous report as to what that opinion contained. I read the opinion; it basically leaves the results of what happens to the Tennessee judiciary after the sunsetting of the "Tennessee Plan" at the feet of the Legislature. The AP report was wrong - period.

The Knoxville Bar Association penned a column in the KNS this Sunday that defended the "Tennessee Plan." (I thought Richard Corsini's response was quite good.) I was not surprised, although quite disappointed. After all, I have paid to be a member of this overly political bar organization since I returned to Knoxville. There was no poll to see if the KBA should have ever ventured into this controversy. Nope, the "leadership" just went ahead and wrote their little column. And I wrote mine in the form of a letter of resignation from the Knoxville Bar Association.

I hope Fowler is incorrect and that nothing is in the works to push through a reauthorization of the "Tennessee Plan." It's hard to fathom why Tennessee Republicans would follow their national brethren and cast aside their respect for strict constitutional interpretation, particularly with an eye to where such actions have landed the national party.

The Tennessee Constitution states that the citizens of the state are to vote for the judges of the Tennessee Supreme Court. I urge the leadership - Lt. Gov. Ramsey, Reps. Mumpower and Casada - to think long and hard before they act on this important issue - and when they do act, to do so in the sunshine where all Tennesseans can see.

Terry Frank
A.C. Kleinheider

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You're absolutely correct. Other than continued usurping of the rights of the populace, I fail to see how the Tennessee Plan can continue, or how the TBA, KBA, and any other group can support it.

I'm a lawyer, I seriously disagree with the current "Tennessee Plan" regime, and have no doubts that the General Assembly will perpetuate it.

As much as I love this state, I seriously hate its politics. It's truly disappointing when the rights preserved for the people in the Constitution are just blatantly ignored at every turn.

I know you're a big TNGOP guy, and have no qualms with that, but while I could never side with the democrats, the bulk of the GOP isn't much better. As a matter of fact, I think that a limp wristed, wobbly Republican is probably worse than the democrats, who you can at least see coming and what they stand for (even if it's wrong).
You are right . I hope that the GOP is not caving to the trial lawyers In a state where money can buy you a judge easily and where corruption is creeping in family court, there is a chance that the Tennessee bar association and the COurt of the Judiciary are going to go full blast against elections.
Maybe the day when children abused by the corrupt family law lawyers and judges start paying union fees . they will find someone to defend their interest in the legislature.
Meanwhile. predatory lawyers are filling their pockets with family assets and manipulating judges.

We just have to watch who in the GOP is going to try to stop elections of judges...
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