Governor reacts to new slate of court candidates, alleging 'game playing' and questioning the selection process

Gov. Phil Bredesen reacted to a new slate of Supreme Court candidates this afternoon, saying he was unhappy with "the games that are being played." Bredesen went even further, saying that he doubts the current judicial selection process produces the most qualified candidates and left open the option of challenging the process in court or changing it through the legislature. Late last night, the Judicial Selection Commission recommended three candidates for the vacant seat on the high court: Court of Appeals Judge William C. Koch Jr. of Nashville, Circuit Court Judge D'Army Bailey of Memphis (the only minority candidate chosen out of the eight who applied) and attorney J. Houston Gordon of Covington. Read more in the Tennessean:,1406,KNS_348_4972561,00.html

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Howard H. Vogel
Knoxville, Tennessee
Editor-in-Chief, TBALink

Corrected Opinion

Court: TCA


Paul G. Summers, Attorney General and Reporter, Stuart F. Wilson-Patton, Senior Counsel, and Warren A. Jasper, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants Tennessee Department of Human Services and Gina Lodge, Commissioner.

Bridget J. Willhite, Athens, Tennessee, for the appellants Policy Studies, Inc., and Connie Bell.

William J. Brown, Cleveland, Tennessee, for the appellees John Michael Shealy and David Lebron Reagan.


In two separate and unrelated divorce cases, the plaintiffs in the instant case - John Michael Shealy and David Lebron Reagan - were each paying child support to their respective former spouses as required by court orders. Pursuant to the provisions of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-5-103(f), certain child support orders in Tennessee are subject to review by the Department of Human Services (DHS) at least once every three years. When the plaintiffs' child support orders were reviewed in accordance with the statute, DHS issued administrative orders in each case summarily increasing the amount of the plaintiffs' child support obligations and implementing wage assignments. The plaintiffs then "joined forces" and filed this action challenging the constitutionality of Tenn. Code Ann. Sections 36-5-103(f) and 36-5-501 on the basis that these statutes violate both due process and the separation of powers doctrine. The plaintiffs successfully obtained a restraining order enjoining enforcement of the administrative orders. Thereafter, the plaintiffs' former wives filed petitions in their respective divorce proceedings seeking an increase in child support. The petitions were eventually resolved by the entry of agreed orders which increased the amount of each of the plaintiffs' child support payment and decreed payment of same by way of wage assignment. After entry of the agreed court orders, DHS entered administrative orders dismissing all of its previous administrative orders and decreeing that the latter orders were held "for naught." Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-5-103(f) was substantially amended effective January 1, 2005. On April 21, 2005, the trial court entered an order holding that Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-5-501 and the pre-January 1, 2005, version of Section 36-5- 103(f) were unconstitutional. DHS appeals. We conclude that all of the plaintiffs' claims are moot, vacate the judgment of the trial court, and remand with instructions to dismiss this case.

This opinion was originally issued on July 29, 2006.


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Check out his article "A Christian, A Democrat"
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Download the current issue
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