TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Allan Ramsaur on Apr 29, 2014

Amendment #2 – November Elections

What is the Judicial Selection Amendment?

• The Judicial Selection Amendment, also known as Amendment 2, sets forth the way we select our judges who serve on our statewide appellate courts. The appellate court judges are the five Supreme Court justices, the twelve judges on the Court of Appeals and the twelve judges on the Court of Criminal Appeals.

• The Judicial Selection Amendment will be number two of four proposed amendments on the statewide ballot in November 2014.

• The Judicial Selection Amendment does not change the process for filling vacancies on the trial court bench nor does it change the election process for trial court judges.

Why Do We Need the Judicial Selection Amendment?

• There have been numerous and expensive challenges to the current method of selecting appellate judges. These challenges threaten to destabilize and weaken our judiciary. Passing the Judicial Selection Amendment should end those challenges.

• A stable, fair and impartial judiciary is important to all of us. Moderation and consistency lead to a good social and business climate.

• Amendment 2, the Judicial Selection Amendment, protects the right of Tennesseans to vote to retain or replace judges at the end of their terms.

How Does Amendment 2 Give Voice to Tennessee Voters?

• The Judicial Selection Amendment gives Tennesseans a voice in the selection of our appellate judges in three ways: by voting for the governor who proposes the appointments, by voting for state senators and state representatives who confirm or reject the appointments, and by voting to retain or replace judges at the end of their respective terms.

Why Does TBA Support Amendment 2?

• The TBA has supported retention elections for judges on the appellate courts and Supreme Court since the early 1970s. The TBA believes that retention elections, when coupled with methods leading to the selection of the best judges to fill vacancies, has given Tennessee one of the best judiciaries in the country. The appellate judiciary is fair and impartial and provides consistent guidance on Tennessee law.

• As the Tennessee Judicial Selection Amendment is expected to be implemented, the system will give us a way to select the best possible candidate because the system will have independence; provide expert guidance; be made up of a diverse group; have transparency; be completely informed as to the qualifications of the candidates; be deliberate; and will result in a list of the best qualified candidates being recommended to the governor.

What Happens If Amendment 2 Does Not Pass?

• Failure to pass Judicial Selection Amendment could bring more legal challenges and continued disagreements and confusion about the judicial selection system, which could lead to a  destabilizing and weakening of the judiciary.

• Failure to pass Amendment 2 could also lead to contested, partisan elections for appellate judges, which would bring the corrupting factor of money and politics into our appellate courts.

• Tennesseans should choose our own appellate judges, not groups with limitless funds who engage in negative campaign ads rather than addressing the actual qualifications of those on the ballot.

When Do We Vote on Amendment 2?

• This amendment will appear statewide on the ballot as number two of four amendments this fall. Election day is Nov. 4, 2014 and early voting begins on Oct. 15, 2014.

What Else Can I Do to Help?

• Talk to your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers about voting yes on Amendment 2. Please visit the TBA’s judicial information center for more information about upcoming judicial elections and ways you can help. Visit the Yes on 2 campaign for more information about the amendment and ways you can help ensure its passage.