published Monday, March 17th, 2014

Special court upholds Tennessee retention elections

NASHVILLE — A special Supreme Court panel has ruled that Tennessee's current retention election system for appellate court judges does not violate the state constitution.

The decision stems from a lawsuit filed in 2012 by John Jay Hooker of Nashville, who challenged both the state's method of selecting judges and the retention elections for appellate court judges.

Monday's unanimous decision by the special state Supreme Court found that voters already do get a say in who gets to be an appellate court judge when they vote in the retention elections.

The opinion is unlikely to settle the controversy between those who think all judges should be selected by the people and run in contested elections and those who think the judiciary should be guarded against politics and costly election campaigns.

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