Tennessee

Judicial Selection in Tennessee

Supreme Court justices and judges of the Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals are appointed by the Governor. As of October 2013, the Governor's Commission for Judicial Appointments serves to screen and interview judicial candidates, then recommend three for the governor's consideration. The Commission was created by executive order to replace the Judicial Nominating Commission, which provided essentially the same service.

All appellate judges are subject to a retention election held every eight years. If a judge or justice is appointed during the middle of that eight years, they are subject to a retention vote at the next general election, and then again at the next regular retention election for a full eight-year term.

Voting Information

For more information about voting in Tennessee, visit the League of Women Voters’ Vote411 site.

Pending Proposed Changes

On the ballot in November 2014, SJR 002 would amend the constitution to end merit selection of appellate judges and move to gubernatorial appointment with legislative confirmation.

HB 1767/SB 1896 would require contested elections of appellate judges if voters fail to approve SJR 002.

HB 1559/SB 1730 would require the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission to take its votes in public.

HB 2358/SB 2075 would reestablish a judicial nominating commission, with 11 members appointed by legislative leaders.

More Information

The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission evaluates the performance of justices and judges standing for retention and recommends to voters whether each judge should be retained. Click here for the evaluation report for judges on the ballot in 2014.

You can visit the Knoxville Bar Association or Tennessee Bar Association websites for additional judicial candidate lists.

For more information about Tennessee’s courts and judges, visit the Tennessee State Courts website.

Tennessee News

Informed Voters Project Presentation at the Tennessee Mock Trial State Championship Awards Ceremony

By: 
NAWJ Editorial
Rebecca Blair (Tennessee Co-Chair)

Tennessee Co-Chair Rebecca Blair gave a presentation on the importance of fair and impartial courts at the Tennessee Mock Trial State Championships Award Ceremony on Saturday to over four hundred high school students, parents, teachers, and Tennessee Bar Association members.  

Justices and Judges on the Ballot in 2014

Supreme Court

Tennessee Supreme Court
Justice Clark was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 2005.
Tennessee Supreme Court
Justice Lee was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2008.
Tennessee Supreme Court
Justice Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006.

Appellate Court

Tennessee Court of Appeals
Judge Kirby was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 1995.
Tennessee Court of Appeals
Judge McClarty was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 2009.
Tennessee Court of Appeals
Judge Stafford was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 2008.
Tennessee Court of Appeals
Judge Susano was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 1994.
Tennessee Court of Appeals
Judge Swiney was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals in 1999.
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
Judge Bivins was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 2011.
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
Judge Glenn was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 1999.
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
Judge McMullen was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 2008.
Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
Judge Ogle was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 1998.

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