Justice Barker Says Vote “Retain”

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Although I consider Roy Exum to be a friend, I must say that the views he expressed on July 13 about the state judicial retention elections are simply wrong and terribly misinformed.  First, Roy said that all the state appellate judges should be replaced although he admits he has never met or heard of any of them.  I know them personally having been a member of the Tennessee judiciary for over 25 years.   I can truthfully say that Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee, Gary Wade, and all of the other appellate judges deserve to be retained in office.  I am  supported in my opinion by the Tennessee Judicial Evaluation Commission.  That official commission, appointed by Lt. Governor Ramsey and Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell, after a thorough investigation,  overwhelmingly endorsed all of these judges for retention.

Roy also complained that the justices should be voted down because they have raised campaign funds.  I agree with Roy that it is preferable that judges not raise money for elections, but in this instance, the first in our state’s recent history, the judges have been forced to raise funds in order to defend themselves from unwarranted, false, and unfounded political attacks.  Out-of-state special interests and some politicians are pouring thousands of dollars into Tennessee to defeat our justices and take over our courts.  Negative ads are now airing, and mailings with false messages are appearing in our mailboxes.  Apparently, these outside groups will stop at nothing to mislead our people.  I am angered that out-of-state groups are trying to manipulate Tennessee voters, especially since these groups have even refused to reveal their donor lists.

Finally, Roy charged, without any specifics or facts, that “Tennessee is regarded as one of the most corrupt states in the country.”  Roy must know in his heart of hearts that statement is simply not true.  While we may all disagree from time to time with our elected officials, we know that most of them are honest and hard-working. To say that our state is corrupt is a most serious allegation.  I know that our Tennessee Supreme Court is not corrupt.  Having served on the Supreme Court for almost 11 years and as its Chief Justice for three years before retiring, I am offended by Roy’s inference that somehow I may have been a part of a “corrupt” court. I know that I and Justices Clark, Lee, and Wade have never made a court ruling based on political party affiliation or favoritism.  Justices Clark, Lee and Wade are each honest, fair, and non-partisan. Their opponents are trying to turn the Court, a non-political branch of government, into one that rules in favor of their political agenda instead of the law and facts of cases as required by our Constitution and state law.  I am a Republican, but politics has no place in a courtroom.  Let’s keep it that way

I strongly encourage all my fellow Tennessee voters to cast their votes to ”Retain” Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee, and Gary Wade as well as to “Retain” the judges on the Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals.

Mickey Barker


Supporting Joanne Favors - And Response

I am asking you to join me in voting for Rep. Joanne Favors as the state representative of the 28th Legislative District.  Rep. Favors epitomizes the dedication, desire, experience and the ability required to do what is needed for her constituents and others in the city, county and state of Tennessee.  We must always keep in mind that our votes really count, especially ... (click for more)

Plant Native Plants Along The Interstate

Would the Highway Department take an active role in planting along our interstate highways native plants that attract pollinators?  The monarch butterfly in particular would benefit from this.   Mowing could be reduced to once a year to eliminate trees from growing.  This would cut fuel cost.  This could start before, in and around, and after our welcome ... (click for more)

Blakemore, Corbett, Rachels Charged In Red Bank Heroin Death

Three Chattanooga residents have been charged with distribution of heroin that led to the death of an individual in Red Bank in February. Authorities have cited a recent rise in heroin abuse in the Chattanooga area, causing several overdose deaths, including three in one recent weekend.   A federal grand jury on Tuesday returned a superseding indictment charging ... (click for more)

Teen Shot Multiple Times On 4th Avenue; 2nd Youth Shot Twice On Pinewood Avenue; Woman Shot Twice On 25th Street

A teen was shot multiple times on 4th Avenue on Monday night. The victim was 19-year-old JaMarcus Davis. A second teen, 18-year-old Jaylain Ballard, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on Pinewood Avenue. Marion Heard, 45, was shot twice early Tuesday morning on 25th Street. In the first incident, Chattanooga Police responded at 7:20 p.m. to the area of the 2600 block ... (click for more)

UTC Coach Jim Foster Recalls His Memories Of Pat Summitt

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women’s head basketball coach Jim Foster took time out Tuesday afternoon to meet with local media to answer questions about his relationship with the late Pat Summitt, the former head coach and most recently the Head Coach Emeritus of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols.   The two Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coaches met each ... (click for more)

Seventh Inning Rally Lifts Generals To 3-1 Win Over Lookouts

The Jackson Generals used a three-run seventh inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts, 3-1.   The Lookouts won the first series of the second half, three games to two.. Lookouts starting pitcher Kohl Stewart was the story early for Chattanooga, shutting out Jackson for six innings. The righty got into trouble in the seventh by allowing a walk and a double. After ... (click for more)