TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Apr 22, 2014

Four of five Tennessee Supreme Court justices have recused themselves from a lawsuit challenging the state's system for choosing judges, The Tennessean reports. Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Cornelia Clark, Sharon Lee and William Koch have recused themselves in the latest case brought by Nashville attorney John Jay Hooker, who has long opposed how the state selects judges. Hooker is currently pursuing a case against the state's Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, based on its demographic makeup. On Jan. 14, a circuit court judge ruled that the body did not "approximate the population of the state with respect to race and gender," as Tennessee law requires. The state appealed that decision and Hooker demanded that the appellate judges recuse themselves. When they refused, Hooker appealed to the Supreme Court, leading to the latest recusals. Justice Janice Holder alone refused to recuse herself, saying she had concluded that “no legitimate basis” existed for doing so.