NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced he has issued Executive Order No. 41 establishing the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments, a group of 11 members that will recommend candidates to fill vacancies for Tennessee trial and appellate courts.
This action follows approval by Tennessee voters on November 4 of a constitutional amendment establishing a method for selecting judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court in Tennessee.
“This council will allow us to select men and women of the highest caliber to ensure a fair, impartial and independent judiciary,” Haslam said. “The people have spoken in approving the constitutional amendment, and Tennesseans can feel confident about our judiciary under this process.”
With the passage of the amendment to Article VI, Section 3 of the Tennessee Constitution, the method of selecting appellate judges for a full term or to fill a vacancy is by and at the discretion of the governor. The governor’s appellate court appointments must then be confirmed by the General Assembly, and thereafter elected in a retention election by the voters of the state.
The members of the newly created council will be appointed by the governor and will include three members each from the western, middle and eastern divisions of the state. Two members will be appointed at-large.
After receiving notice that a trial or appellate court vacancy has occurred or is impending, and after a public hearing, the council will select three candidates that are most qualified to fill the vacancy and send those names to the governor as nominees for appointment. The governor will fill the vacancy by appointing a person from among the three nominated or require the council to submit a panel of three additional nominees.
The executive order supersedes and rescinds the previous executive order that established the Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments. Terms for members of the Governor’s Commission for Judicial Appointments ended on November 5, 2014.