NASHVILLE, October 7, 2014 – A major battle is happening Oright now in Tennessee. The issue is whether or not the people will be able to elect their judges or whether judges will now totally be controlled by the establishment elites.
Shortly after the Civil War, Tennessee wrote a new constitution as it was being readmitted to the Union. One of the provisions of the Constitution was the directive that all judges be subjected to an election by popular vote.
The elites do not like the idea of a judiciary that is responsive to the will of the people.
In 1982, the people of Tennessee elected their appellate judges for the last time. By 1990, the next time the judges were up for reelection, the state legislature ignored the state constitution and created a scheme where appellate judges would be subject to a simply yes or no retention vote.
The idea of a retention vote is a joke. Almost always, the vote is 66% in favor of retention and 33% again. Since 1990, only one judge has not been retained. The politicians of the old Soviet Union would be jealous of that kind of reelection rate.
Opponents of the retention election system in Tennessee sued. The entire Tennessee Supreme Court had to recuse itself. The liberal Republican governor of Tennessee, who supported the idea of retention elections, appointed a “special” Supreme Court to hear that case.
It was no great shock when the “special” Supreme Court ruled retention elections were constitutional.
Liberals love the idea of unelected judges. That way judges can legislate from the bench. Judges can overrule the will of the people with a simple order and if they are not subject to a real election, there is no accountability.
It was not always this way.
When the Constitution of the United States was written, the judiciary was believed to be the weakest branch. And it was until 1803. In 1803 the Supreme Court decided the case of Marbury v. Madison.
In that case, the Supreme Court gave itself the power to declare laws unconstitutional.
Article III of the Constitution gave judges lifetime tenure because of the belief the judiciary was the weakest of the government branches. Suddenly it became the strongest
Thomas Jefferson, then President, reacted angrily to the decision. He said, “You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”
Liberals love oligarchy. That is why they despise an elected judiciary.
On November 4, the voters of the State of Tennessee are going to consider a constitutional amendment that will put the system of retention elections into the state constitution.
The Republican establishment in Tennessee, along with the left, is putting their efforts into getting Amendment 2 to the constitution passed. Tennessee’s liberal Republican governor, along with the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House are all trying to strip away the right of the people to elect judges.
The elites have a lot of money they are throwing at the election. They claim the system they want takes the politics out of the judiciary. No, it doesn’t take the politics out, it just changes the parties. No longer do the average people have a voice. The people who will be choosing judges are the political insiders.
Those who support retention elections claim that manner of choosing judges takes money out of the judicial system. Earlier this year, various groups spent millions fighting over the retention of Tennessee’s Supreme Court.
So much for the myth of removing money from judicial elections.
On November 4, the people will have the final say. Nothing good can happen if the people lose the right to select their judges.
As President Jefferson said, it simply results in an oligarchy.