Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee and Chief Justice Gary Wade were in Chattanooga Monday meeting with constituents, local leaders, appearing on WGOW talk radio and at a press conference on the County Courthouse steps.
Justices Lee, Wade and Connie Clark are asking voters to retain them on the ballot on Thursday, while Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is leading a campaign to unseat what he calls "liberal Democrats."
Attorney Lee Davis said, "The three Supreme Court judges have exemplary records on the bench and a history of public service that warrants their return to office. Many area attorneys, business people, and civic-minded citizens are volunteering their time this summer to get the message out that 'Justice is not for sale' and we need to retain our Supreme Court.
"Voters have the choice to retain or replace the justices on Thursday's ballot. While there is no opponent, in the traditional sense, running against them, they do have well-funded opposition in that Lt. Gov. Ramsey has put more than $400,000 of his own political money into a statewide media campaign and he has sought out of state support for his negative campaign."
Chief Justice (ret.) Mickey Barker, speaking in support of Justices Wade, Lee and Clark, called the effort to unseat the judges "a blatant power grab by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey in his attempt to influence the outcome of this week's election. "What's being said about these friends of mine and former colleagues is simply untrue and I am truly disappointed and somewhat angered at the people who are behind this. I know who they are and what their motives are."
Justice Lee said, "The courts are impartial by design and attempts to politicize the electoral process are harmful to our system of Justice."
Chief Justice Wade said, "No person who comes before the Tennessee Supreme Court should have to consider what political party a judge is from, it is the fair and impartial administration of Justice they seek and we administer on behalf of the people of Tennessee."
Attorney Davis said, "Area supporters include respected Republicans like ret. Chief Justice Barker, Democrats and Independents. The common ground that ties these men and women together is the belief that there should be a separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Intrinsic to this concept of separation of powers is the belief that the judiciary must be independent and free from political influences of the day. The vote on Thursday is a test of this concept of the separation of powers."
Rep. JoAnne Favors, County Commissioner Greg Beck and Justice Sharon Lee