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House approves judicial selection amendment

By Shelby Morris, Producer, smorris@wcyb.com
Published On: Mar 12 2013 12:06:49 AM CDT
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The state House has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to give lawmakers the power to refuse the governor's appointments to appeals courts in Tennessee. 

The chamber voted 78-14 in favor of the resolution on Monday with little debate. The Senate approved the legislation 29-2 last month, and it will now go on the ballot in next year's general election.

The proposal would maintain the current system for holding yes-no retention elections for appointed Supreme Court justices and appeals judges. It would do away with an independent nomination commission that narrows down the list of candidates for the governor to choose from. That system would be replaced by a confirmation process in the General Assembly.

Supporters say the constitutional amendment would continue to prevent high-dollar judicial elections in Tennessee, while opponents argue that it conflicts with the state constitution's provision that Supreme Court justices "shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state."