Former Gov. Dunn Speaks on Merit Selection

Former Tennessee Gov. Winfield Dunn, who in 1971 signed a bill into law that created the current system for selecting appeals court judges, now says enacting the bill was a mistake. “At the time I signed it I felt constrained by many other issues,” Dunn said. “I regret signing the retention election bill.” Dunn’s comments came after a special state Supreme Court hearing on the latest challenge to the state’s judicial nomination and retention system by John Jay Hooker. Representing the state at the hearing, attorney Janet Kleinfelter said it was not the first time, but it should be the last time, the state defends the way appeals judges are elected. Pointing out that the system has been upheld twice on appeal, she argued "this judicial system is entitled to finality.” The Tennessean has more.