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Pro-Retention Group Lauds TCU Support for Supremes

Press release from Keep TN Courts Fair; July 29, 2014:

The leadership of the Tennessee Conservative Union voiced their support for Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Gary Wade, Sharon Lee and Cornelia Clark in the upcoming retention election. TCU Chairman Lloyd Daugherty and Executive Director Kelvin Moxley cited the justices’ fidelity to the state and federal constitutions as sufficient reason to retain the three members of Tennessee’s highest court.

“Both Kelvin and I believe that partisan politics should not be a part of judicial selections. The current effort to unseat these three fine jurists is not borne out of some notion of a continued pattern of power usurpation or rogue judicial conduct. Indeed, the stated reasons for opposing them have nothing to do with their rulings or conduct,” said Daugherty.

Daugherty said, “Partisan politics should not enter into the court system. To allow such undermines the rule of law that is so vital to an orderly and civil society and launches us down a road traveled by Boss Crump and Tammany Hall where justice is dispensed based on what political party you support.”

While we realize that this position is different from our dear friend Ron Ramsey (who will be inducted into the TCU Conservative Hall of Fame) and Lt. Governor Ramsey has accomplished an amazing amount for conservatives, we also recognize that when one party holds all the power, whether it is Republican or Democrat, problems will arise.

TCU has always looked favorably upon conservatives of all stripes, whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, who support and advance conservative policies and respect for the Constitution. There are a lot of new people involved in politics, and they need to look back at TCU’s record. TCU has shown that the old way of choosing good judges can work.

In 1996, the Tennessee Conservative Union led the fight against sitting Supreme Court Justice Penny.

White over her failure to uphold the death penalty and the constitution. She subsequently lost the retention vote and was removed from the court. We do not see this sort of rejection of the Constitution by this court, thus can see no reason not to retain these three justices.

TCU is the oldest conservative organization in the state, and was founded during the Reagan primary campaign of 1976.

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Ads For, Against Retention of State Supreme Court Justices Flood TN Airwaves

Press release from Justice At Stake; July 23, 2014:

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 23 – A significant new barrage of politically-charged campaign ads hit Tennessee airwaves this week targeting three state Supreme Court justices up for retention. Among the out-of-state groups spending money to unseat the justices is Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers-linked dark money group that also spent money to influence state Supreme Court races in North Carolina and Florida in 2012. Other groups seeking to influence Tennessee’s retention election include the Republican State Leadership Committee, which distributed fliers, and the State Government Leadership Foundation.

The state is seeing a surge of ads both for and against Justices Gary Wade, Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee as the August 7 retention election approaches. Early voting began July 18. While much of the advertising spending is likely to remain undocumented until the next state disclosure deadline at the end of July, public FCC files show spending on television ad contracts continues to rise, and has crossed the $400,000 threshold.

The ads include:

  • A radio ad sponsored by Americans for Prosperity, criticizing the justices for appointing a “liberal” Attorney General who did not oppose Obamacare.
  • A TV ad sponsored by Tennesseans for Fair Courts, a pro-retention group, disputing claims made in ads opposing the justices.
  • A TV ad sponsored by the Tennessee Forum, a conservative Tennessee group, claiming the justices are “liberal on crime” and “threaten your freedoms.” It urges voters to “replace the liberal Supreme Court.” The group said these ads are part of statewide campaign that will air through the election.
  • A TV ad highlighting the justices’ records, saying they upheld “nearly 90 percent of death sentences,” and urging viewers to vote in favor of their retention.
  • A TV ad from the State Government Leadership Foundation, a partner group of the Republican State Leadership Committee, criticizing the three justices for being “liberal on the Obama agenda.”
  • A TV ad in favor of Justice Gary Wade, describing him as focused on work, family and faith.
  • A TV ad sponsored by Keep Tennessee Courts Fair (the coordinated campaign to retain justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Gary Wade), in which retired Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Mickey Barker says “politics has no place in our courts.”

“The continued flood of money into judicial elections from all sides is already a threat to impartial justice. But if AFP has decided to spend the kind of money in a judicial race that it has spent in other contests around the country, this could transform judicial politics in the United States,” noted Bert Brandenburg, executive director of Justice at Stake, which has been monitoring money and politics in this year’s judicial elections. “More judges are feeling trapped in a system that is persuading many people that justice is for sale.”

“The ads in Tennessee are just the latest in a disturbing trend of outside groups attempting to influence who sits on our courts,” said Alicia Bannon, Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice. “People need to feel that judges are accountable to the law, not special interest groups pouring money into retention elections. Ads that politicize judges’ records on the bench undermine the independence of our courts.”

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Press Releases

Supreme Justice Retention Campaign Releases Ad Touting 2nd Amendment, Death Penalty Support

Press release from Keep Tennessee Courts Fair; July 10, 2014: 

NASHVILLE – Upholding a fair and impartial court based on a solemn oath sworn by each Justice is at the centerpiece of a television ad that begins airing across the state today. The ad, “Oath,” features Justices Connie Clark, Sharon Lee and Chief Justice Gary Wade as each vowed to “Support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Tennessee” . . . “faithfully and impartially . . . so help me God.”

“Underpinning that theme are the facts that these Justices have protected individual rights, our 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, and they have upheld nearly 90 percent of death sentences that have come before them,” said Brenda Gadd, Keep campaign manager for Keep Tennessee Courts Fair.

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDxs_Qt4Gyg[/youtube]

 

Click here for the full script with citations. 

Keep Tennessee Courts Fair is the coordinated campaign for the Committee to Retain Connie Clark (Julian Bibb, Treasurer), the Committee to Retain Justice Lee (T. Lee Sherbakoff, Treasurer) and the Friends of Gary Wade (Sam Furrow, Treasurer). This press release is not an endorsement of any Justice by any other Justice and shall not be construed, cited or used by any person or organization as such an endorsement.