Lawyers Advised Alexander to Take Office Early

The main players in the 1979 event that saw Lamar Alexander sworn-in as governor of Tennessee three days early -- a way to stem then-Gov. Ray Blanton's flagrant pardons-for-bribes scandal -- talked about the historic “impeachment, Tennessee style” Monday at Vanderbilt University. Alexander, now a U.S. senator, was joined by then-U.S. Attorney Hal Hardin, former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William Koch and current state Attorney General Bob Cooper as they recalled the decision. Koch, then an assistant to Attorney General Bill Leach, was part of a group of four, including Leach, who gathered in secret to decide whether the improvised swearing-in could happen. “After many cigarettes and a lot of pacing and screaming in the hotel room, the four lawyers stuck together,” Koch said. But ultimately it was Alexander's decision. "I knew down deep in my gut that I had to do it,” he said. The Tennessean has the story