Following the withdrawal of Chancellor Richard Dinkins from consideration for appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court, Gov. Phil Bredesen on Monday requested a new slate of three candidates from the Judicial Selection Commission to fill the remaining vacancy created by the announced retirements of Justices AA Birch, Jr. and E. Riley Anderson.
Citing his desire "to maintain diversity" on the state’s highest court, Gov. Bredesen requested that the commission submit a list that includes "highly qualified minority candidates."
The governor stated in a letter to the Judicial Selection Commission, "As you know, I have always sought to appoint judges who meet the highest professional and personal standards. Among such highly qualified persons, diversity is a significant factor that I believe should be considered. With Chancellor Dinkins' withdrawal, I no longer have the opportunity to consider that factor.
"I, therefore, request that the commission send me a new panel of nominees that includes qualified minority candidates. I further request that the commission select the new panel as expeditiously as possible, so that I can make this appointment before Sept. 1, when the court vacancy occurs."
One of those leaving the high court, Justice Birch, is black. He was the only black on the Supreme Court.
These are the remaining candidates:
Circuit Court Judge D'Army Bailey - Memphis
Court of Appeals Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr. - Nashville
J. Houston Gordon - attorney - Covington
Court of Appeals Judge William C. Koch, Jr. - Nashville
Court of Criminal Appeals Judge J.C. McLin - Memphis
George T. "Buck" Lewis - attorney - Memphis
David Day - attorney - Cookeville
John T. Fowlkes, Jr. - chief administrative officer for Shelby County
The Judicial Selection Commission will accept applications until 4:30
p.m. (CDT) on Aug. 9.
Applications will be available from the Administrative Office of the
Courts, 511 Union Street, Suite 600, Nashville, Tn., 37219, Attn. Sarah
Bradley. Applications also may be downloaded from the AOC website at
www.tncourts.gov A date for a public hearing and interviews with
the applicants will be announced.
Applicants who already have applied may continue in the process by notifying the AOC that they wish to have their applications reconsidered.
Here is the code section dealing with the appointment:
17-4-112. Judicial appointments - Expiration of terms.
(a) When a vacancy occurs in the office of an appellate court after
September 1, 1994, by death, resignation or otherwise, the governor
shall fill the vacancy by appointing one (1) of the three (3) persons
nominated by the judicial selection commission, or the governor may
require the commission to submit one (1) other panel of three (3)
nominees. If the governor rejects the first panel of nominees, the
governor shall select one (1) of the nominees in the second panel. If
the governor rejects the first panel, the governor shall state in
writing for the judicial selection commission the reasons for the
rejection of the panel