Tennessee is closer than ever to adopting a method of judicial selection that every Tennessean could be proud of.
The Tennessee Senate this afternoon approved by voice vote an amendment (SJR 710) that would bring Tennessee’s judicial selection method more in line with the U.S. Constitution by allowing the governor to appoint judges with confirmation by the legislature. The amendment seeks to obviate the criticism most frequently leveled against the federal method — that it facilitates obstruction — by establishing that “Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment.”
The measure has the support of Governor Haslam and House Speaker Harwell, who requested some of the particular language. Before final passage it must be read twice more in the Senate and approved by the House. In the Senate, Lieutenant Governor Ramsey and Senate Majority Leader Norris have both pledged to pass SJR 710 as part of a deal with Leader Norris. The House is expected to take action on and conform a companion to SJR 710 in committee tomorrow, with further action on the floor soon thereafter.