Judges Recuse Selves from Suit Over Judicial Selection

All but one of Tennessee's 12 Court of Appeals judges and two Supreme Court judges have recused themselves in an appeal of John Jay Hooker's latest effort to invalidate the state's system for selecting appeals court judges. If all five Supreme Court justices recuse themselves, Gov. Haslam could be called upon to name special Supreme Court justices to hear any appeal of the eventual Court of Appeals decision — just as then-Gov. Don Sundquist did in another of Hooker's cases, in 1998.

Hooker's latest suit, filed earlier this year, contends that Haslam's appointment of Jeff Bivins to the Court of Criminal Appeals violates the state constitution, but Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden dismissed the lawsuit in June. Hooker appealed, filing motions calling on the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court judges to recuse themselves from hearing the appeal. Supreme Court Chief Justice Cornelia Clark and Justice William Koch have recused themselves, along with the appeals judges. The other three Supreme Court justices filed an order calling on Hooker and the attorney general's office to file briefs on a possible recusal. Read more in the News Sentinel