Closing Argument On Retention Election 2014

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A number of lawyers and judges are seemingly fearful of partisan campaigns when it comes to whether voters choose to replace or retain our justices.  Perhaps those same lawyers and judges feel that politics or campaign finance interests would sway the opinions of future justices.  Ironically, those same lawyers and judges don’t have that identical concern for the existing justices even after they accepted over $1,000,000 and will be subject to retention again at a later point if retained this year.  

A number of lawyers and judges have said that the election to replace is nothing more than a power grab by the lieutenant governor, thus creating the farce that one branch can magically control another, which is not true in reality.  The branches are independent and have their own powers pursuant to the Constitution.   

Consider that the lieutenant governor is actually doing the judicial branch a favor, and more importantly, the voters too.  How?  A Tennessee Supreme Court determined by the voters under a partisan campaign is a court more powerful among the branches than it would be otherwise.  The reason: political legitimacy to govern autonomously is derived from the sovereign.  Public officials obtain power when voters elect them to do the business of government.  As for empowering the voter, it is through the vigorous public debate associated with partisan campaigns that the voters become aware of their voting rights, gain knowledge about the candidates, and partake as citizens in the formation of their government through the democratic process.  

The Tennessee Supreme Court is not just a court that opines on cases (which by the way can often be appealed to the United States Supreme Court as a court of last resort unless it is an independent and adequate state issue).  These justices oversee the Administrative Office of the Courts.  The AOC presides over numerous state government functions impacting the judicial branch, including the administration of the lower courts, the regulation of the practice of law, the victim’s fund, and many other programs.  As with any government branch, the elected public officials with oversight should be accountable to the voters.  Apparently this only happens for the justices when a partisan campaign is launched during a retention election year.  

I may be a lawyer, but I am a Tennessean first.  I will be voting to replace the justices because I believe that no justice should contest having to plea their case in a partisan race – that’s how we hold our elected public officials accountable as voters. 

Pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution, “judges of the supreme court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.”   

James H. Dunn
Attorney at Law



Christian Arrogance On Display

The announcement that the "Bible In The Schools" organization will "gift" a million dollars to the Hamilton County Schools for elective bible "history" classes is a real in-your-face example of christian arrogance.  No one is fooled by the use of the term "bible history" to mask the real intent of this program.  As one who remembers when sunday school teachers were ... (click for more)

Conspiracy Between Trump And Putin - And Response

The Democrats and liberals would have us to believe that Putin and Trump conspired on the emails.  Quote:  Sanders supporter, former head of the NAACP, Mr. Jealous argued Monday that the Russians couldn’t be blamed for the content of the emails.  “What I know for sure is that the Russians didn’t write the emails. That is the most important thing, what was in ... (click for more)

$30 Million Development Planned At King And South Market; Will Include Hotel, Condos, Offices, Retail, Possible Restaurant

A new $30 million development is planned for the Southside at King Street and South Market. Nick Wilkinson, city deputy director for economic development, said it will include a hotel, condos, offices, retail and possibly a restaurant. It could also include some light industry. A storage building and a parking lot are now at the site. He said the developers plan to reuse ... (click for more)

Investor In Scheme Says Dyer Made Contacts At Quarterback Club

One of the investors who was a loser in an investment scheme recently halted by the Securities and Exchange Commission said one of the Chattanooga brokers involved made many of his contacts through the Chattanooga Quarterback Club. Paul Smith, former Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman, said Doug Dyer has been the president for many years of the club that promotes UTC and ... (click for more)

Dunbar Promoted To Head Wrestling Job At Ooltewah

J.D. Dunbar had been promoted to head wrestling coach at Ooltewah High School. Dunbar, an assistant with the Owls’ mat program since 2012, becomes a head coach for the first time at the high school level. He replaces Bryant Blackmon, who recently resigned. The 36-year-old Dunbar is also the school’s strength and conditioning coach and assistant head football coach on ... (click for more)

Another Big Week For Chattanooga Football Club

More than 10,000 fans gathered at Finley Stadium last Saturday to see a 5-3 penalty kick win over Miami United.   CFC keeper Gregga Hartley made a save and scored the winning penalty kick, helping his team to advance to the national semifinals on Saturday.  They will host Sonoma County Sol at 7:30 in the comfy confines of "Fort Finley"  Chattanooga is the top ... (click for more)