Chief Justice Wade Says Politics Should Have No Place In Retention Election

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tennessee Chief Justice Gary Wade, during a stop in Chattanooga on a statewide swing urging voters to retain him and two other justices, said politics should have no place in judicial elections.

He said during an interview at the Davis-Hoss law office, "Making the right decision is hard enough without looking around the courtroom trying to figure out who are Democrats and who are Republicans."

Chief Justice Wade said he and Justices Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee got wind in February that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey was helping organize a campaign to unseat the three appointees of Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen.

Chief Justice Wade said, "We are proud of our record in the criminal law and that law enforcement and prosecutors have fared well in the Supreme Court over the last eight years."

He said, "This is one of the hardest-working group of judges that I've been around. They take their jobs very seriously."

The chief justice said the justices are keeping up with their workloads, while going out on the campaign trail from time to time. "We are basically doing double time," he said.

He said 94 percent favored retention in a state bar association poll, and he said a qualifying commission whose membership included some named by the lieutenant governor recommended that the judges stay on. 

Justice Wade called the anti-retention campaign a dangerous trend that flies against the notion of three separate branches of government.

He said, "Justices have all this time been free of such interference, but now I fear there is some over-reaching from one branch to the other."

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