House Democratic Leader: Supreme Court Succumbed to Political Pressure on AG Selection

Press Release from the Office of House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, Sept. 15, 2014:

Fitzhugh Condemns Partisan Attorney General Selection; Calls for public to have more input in process

Nashville, TN — House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh issued the following statement on the appointment of Herb Slattery as Tennessee’s next Attorney General.

“First, I want to congratulate Herb Slatery on being selected as Attorney General. I have worked with Herb for many years and wish him success in this new endeavor.

Today, however, I am disappointed that our Supreme Court has capitulated to Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and the very special interest groups that tried to replace our Justices just one short month ago.

As every candidate for Attorney General noted during the public interview process, Bob Cooper has served our state with distinction. He kept us out of costly, politically motivated national lawsuits. He brought millions into state coffers by cracking down on Medicaid fraud and consumer protection issues. His service has been independent and above reproach, yet he was replaced today because of his private political affiliation.

I have great faith in the people of Tennessee. By retaining Justices Clark, Lee and Wade Tennesseans have shown that their votes are not for sale. The people of Tennessee have proven they are capable of seeing through rhetoric and, when given the opportunity to vote, can be trusted to preserve the independence of the courts. Unfortunately, our Supreme Court Justices today failed that same test.

As a result, I believe it is time to explore our options for giving Tennesseans more power in selecting their Attorney General. In the August elections, Tennesseans voted for an impartial Judiciary, but were rebuked today by the politically motivated replacement of General Cooper.

While the people have shown they can be trusted to preserve the integrity of the courts, the Supreme Court Justices have shown they are too susceptible to political pressure. This issue must be addressed and I intend to work with Republicans and Democrats to make sure we solve this problem in our next legislative session.”