Bench/Bar Speakers Talk of Courage, Independence

When investigators learned of a scheme of selling pardons cash — setting free some of the state's worst criminals — it set in motion a bold move by a small bipartisan group of Tennessee officials to swear in Governor-elect Lamar Alexander three days ahead of schedule. Author and political observer Keel Hunt took readers behind the scenes in this dramatic political transition in his well-received book, Coup. At the Bench/Bar session, he presented the story along with two key participants in the events of that day in 1979 — former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Hal Hardin and former Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler.

The second session featured former Mississippi Supreme Court Presiding Justice Oliver E Diaz Jr., who detailed attacks from special interest groups he suffered while on the court.

At the Bench/Bar Luncheon, Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady told the audience that judges and lawyers need to stand up against challenges facing the courts today. Cady, who saw three of his colleagues fall in retention elections after the court ruled to allow same-sex marriages in Iowa, spoke of the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary and the courage necessary to sustain it.

Bench/Bar 2014

Former Tennessean publisher John Seigenthaler (from left) with former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee Hal Hardin and author Keel Hunt.

Bench/Bar 2014

Author Keel Hunt

Bench/Bar 2014

Seigenthaler and Hardin.

Bench/Bar 2014

The author and panelists sign copies of Coup.

Bench/Bar 2014

TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur moderating session.

Bench/Bar 2014

Former Mississippi Supreme Court Presiding Justice Oliver E Diaz Jr. with Tennessee Chief Justice Gary Wade.

Bench/Bar 2014

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady (left) with TBA leaders Jonathan Steen and Cindy Wyrick with Justice Diaz.

Bench/Bar 2014

Justice Wade recognizes Buck Lewis for his contributions to the Access to Justice effort in Tennessee.

Bench/Bar 2014

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady giving keynote address at Bench/Bar Luncheon.