Tennessee House Judiciary Committee approves 9-6 plan to put merit selection explicitly in state’s constitution

There has been copious amounts written on this blog and in the Gavel to Gavel publication on Tennessee’s merit selection system (here’s an overview). The latest effort, HJR 753, would specifically place a merit-selection system in the state’s constitution for appellate judges in the state. Specifically the proposed constitutional amendment would replace the existing Article VI, 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.

…with this…

Each judge of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be initially selected via merit-based gubernatorial appointment from a panel of qualified candidates submitted by a nominating commission; shall be legislatively confirmed; and, thereafter, contingent upon a satisfactory job performance evaluation, shall be subject to retention election by the qualified voters of the state. The Legislature shall prescribe such rules as may be necessary to implement sections two and three of this article. Each such judge shall be at least thirty-five years of age and shall have been a resident of the state for the five-year period immediately preceding appointment. The term of service shall be eight years.

The plan has the support of the state’s governor and legislative leaders. Despite this, the bill passed by only a 9-6 vote earlier today on its way to the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee.

The video below is from the (short) Judiciary subcommittee hearing on the bill on March 14 and the (longer) hearing and vote from March 20.

2 thoughts on “Tennessee House Judiciary Committee approves 9-6 plan to put merit selection explicitly in state’s constitution”

Comments are closed.