Press Releases

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jun 13, 2014

First-ever TBA poll asked Tennessee lawyers to evaluate Supreme Court justices facing retention election

GATLINBURG, June 13, 2014 -- Nine out of 10 lawyers recommend that Tennesseans vote to "retain" the three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices on the Aug. 7 ballot. That's the result of a Tennessee Bar Association Candidate Evaluation Poll conducted over the last two weeks.

The Tennessee Bar Association asked its members to indicate whether they highly recommended, recommended, did not recommend or had no informed opinion on the issue as of the date that they responded to the survey, with respect to the retention election of Justices Connie Clark and Sharon Lee, and Chief Justice Gary Wade.

The votes of those with an opinion break out as follows:

Justice Highly Recommend Recommend Do Not Recommend

Justice Connie Clark
74.4% 18.4% 7.2%
Justice Sharon Lee 75.9% 17.3% 6.8%
Chief Justice Gary Wade 76.7% 17.0% 6.3%

"Lawyers are uniquely qualified to provide an informed opinion as to whether a justice should be retained in office," outgoing TBA President Cindy Wyrick of Sevierville said in announcing the results. "For that reason, it is important that they share this knowledge with voters who will be going to the polls in August."
TBA Executive Director Allan F. Ramsaur said, that he was "quite pleased" with the large number of lawyers voting. "We think this good turnout means that the results are a fair reflection of the sentiment of TBA members." The membership is made up of some 12,000 members from all facets of law practice and represents more than 70 percent of the lawyers in Tennessee

"We want to help the voting public make an informed decision in these retention elections by compiling the views of Tennessee lawyers and presenting them broadly," incoming TBA President Jonathan Steen of Jackson said. "These results provide a much better measure than partisan labels as to the issue of a judge's capabilities. We will continue this educational effort through early voting, which begins July 18, and Election Day."

The poll -- the first ever conducted by the Tennessee Bar Association -- is part of a broad effort to ensure a fair, impartial and accountable judicial election. The TBA is a lead sponsor in the Informed Voters project in Tennessee and the originator of the Tennessee Fair Judicial Campaign Code of Conduct. Through its Policy on Unjust Criticism of Judges, the TBA also responds to unjust criticism of judges and judicial candidates when they are unable to do so because of judicial ethics constraints. Information on all of these efforts is available on the TBA's online Judicial Selection Information Center.