Tennessee: Amendment 2 having been approved, implementing legislation prefiled for 2015; specifies how legislature will operate to confirm

With approval last week of Amendment 2 in Tennessee, the state’s constitution now provides appellate judges are to be appointed by the governor, confirmed by the House and Senate, and subject to retention election. The day after the election, a bill to providing implementing language (SB 1) was prefiled for 2015.

One interesting note is the use of a joint judicial confirmation committee in lieu of two separate House and Senate committees when it comesĀ  to confirmation. This is consistent with the practice in the other two states that require dual-chamber confirmation Connecticut (Joint Judiciary) and Maine (Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary). The committee will be split evenly with 7 House members and 7 Senate. It will take a majority of BOTH chamber’s representatives (i.e. 4 House, 4 Senate) in order to confirm; it won’t be possible for example to get an 8-vote majority with 7 Senators and 1 House member. A tie vote on the part of one chamber is deemed a recommendation for rejection. After the committee hearing(s) a joint resolution would be filed in the House and Senate reflecting the vote(s) in committee.

The legislation also reconfirms the use of Tennessee’s unique “retain/replace” language; as I noted previously most other states use some version of “retain: yes/no” and no other state uses “retain/replace”.