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

Make Government Work Again

There hasn't been as much talk about it in the national news as the presidential candidates, but please don't forget the down race ballots, our do-nothing Congress and the obstructionism they have practiced over the last eight years. It is time to break the log jam and make government work again. That includes the state level as well.  John Fricke (click for more)

Roy Exum: What Southerners Sing

Barry Norris plays the organ at Birmingham’s East Lake United Methodist Church and two days ago the church hosted what we used to call “A Singing on the Grounds.” Today it is called a “Hymnfest” and, believe it or not, it is has to be just as fun today as it was 100 years ago when our forefathers tied their horse and wagon to a tree. It just so happens I know a little bit about ... (click for more)

In Surprise Vote, Chattanooga City Council Turns Down Short Term Vacation Rentals

In a surprise vote, the City Council on Tuesday night turned down allowing a process to legalize short term vacation rentals in Chattanooga. Only Chip Henderson and Jerry Mitchell voted in favor. Opposed were Carol Berz, Yusuf Hakeem, Larry Grohn, Moses Freeman, Ken Smith and Russell Gilbert. Chris Anderson was absent. Afterward, Councilman Smith said, in light of the vote, ... (click for more)

Cold Case Unit Makes Arrest In Murders Of Brothers In Brainerd Almost 20 Years Ago; Detectives Say Brainerd Jeweler Rick Davis Tied To Incident

The Cold Case Unit set up by District Attorney Neal Pinkston has made an arrest in the murders of two brothers in Brainerd almost 20 years ago. The Hamilton County Grand Jury on Monday indicted 52-year-old Christopher Jeffre Johnson on two counts of first-degree murder in the January 1997 deaths of Sean and Donny Goetcheus. The 25-year-old Sean Goetcheus and his ... (click for more)

Taylor Luthringer, Thomas Porter Win Region Cross Country

COOKEVILLE – Tuesday was a pretty good day for the Signal Mountain cross country teams. Not only did they celebrate with both individual winners in the Region 4-A/AA races, but both teams finished in the top three and will advance to the state meet, which will be held at Nashville’s Percy Warner Park a week from Saturday. Taylor Luthringer and Thomas Porter captured the individual ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Draws Top Ranked Greeneville, CCS Opens With Madison Magnet

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame drew the top-ranked Greeneville in the opening round of the TSSAA Class A/AA state tournament.  Notre Dame is scheduled to play Greeneville on Wednesday at 8 p m. (EST)  in Murfreesboro. CCS will play Madison Magnet in the first round on field #1 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) . CCS and Greeneville met in the state championship game ... (click for more)