Press Release from John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, Aug. 7, 2014:
As Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association I have received many calls and e-mails with questions on the subject of the judicial elections. So much so that I feel compelled to send you this special e-mail in order to explain to you about the judicial choices on today’s ballot.
The third branch of state government is the Judiciary. We have Governor Haslam who refuses to push for legislation he promised in 2010 for Constitutional Carry. This year his administration has even been playing games with phony fiscal notes to kill pro-gun legislation. We have seen a Republican super majority in the legislature stonewalling on its redundant promises to remove infringements on the rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment while claiming that some incremental legislation proves that they are actually “good” on the 2nd Amendment.
However, we cannot ignore the judiciary. It was the courts that identified the 2009 restaurant carry law as unconstitutionally vague which led to a better law being passed in 2010. It is also the Tennessee Supreme court that has construed the phrase “full rights of citizenship” in our restoration statutes to mean “except for the 2nd Amendment rights”. As citizens, we must be aware of and jealously protect our constitution rights to elect – that is to select – our judges.
Right now, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is attacking the state’s Democrat appellate and Supreme Court justices. This is nothing more than a partisan effort to remove Democrats from those positions so that Governor Haslam can appoint what will likely be Establishment Republicans to vacant judicial seats if Ramsey’s partisan effort is successful.
TFA sees the value for a strong, Constitutionally founded, and principled judiciary. Tennesseans are at risk of not having that type of Constitutionally principled judiciary if the seats are nothing but political trophies to whichever partisan interest holds the Governor’s seat (as it is federally). Tennesseans must push for the repeal of any statutes which impair the rights of the citizens to elect – that is, to “select” – our judges. We must stop the “Tennessee plan” which lets the Governor appoint judges. We must reclaim our rights to elect the one-third of government that is comprised of the judiciary.
You can do this by voting “NO on Amendment 2” in November and telling Bill Haslam, Ron Ramsey, Beth Harwell and the Establishment Republicans who seek to trick you into “voting to give up your right to vote” that you will not go quietly into the night and surrender to them your right to vote for one third of Tennessee’s government.
As for today’s election, some may feel that the existing appointment system is unconstitutional and consequently that the only “real” choice is to vote to remove all judges – not just the Democrat judges – because their appointment was made in violation of your constitutional rights. That would be a reasonable choice.
Others feel that you should look at the actual decisions of the judges – independent of their party affiliations – and vote on the merits of each judge’s opinion history in deciding cases. That might be reasonable but no one has actually put together lists of what those opinion histories are or where to find the cases to see actually what they have said so this option is almost unworkable.
Yet others may feel that the partisan propaganda from Ron Ramsey and other Establishment Republicans make sense and vote strictly on party lines. That would be dangerous because all that does is give Bill Haslam the opportunity to pack the entire appellate judiciary in Tennessee with his hand picked Establishment and Big Business preferences for judges. If that happens, what you may see is appellate judges who have protectionist tendencies for Big Business, even if that violates the rights of citizens, that Alexander, Haslam, Ramsey and Black have demonstrated repeatedly.