University of Denver

Tennessee: 11 of 12 appellate judges recuse themselves from selection case (Updated)

Former Senior Director

Eleven of 12 court of appeals judges and two of five supreme court justices have recused themselves from hearing an appeal involving a constitutional challenge to the state’s process for selecting appellate judges. John Jay Hooker, who filed and lost a similar suit in the late 1990s, claims that the constitution requires judges to be elected rather than appointed and that elections should be by grand division rather than statewide. A trial judge rejected the first claim and agreed with the second, but a special three-judge panel appointed by the supreme court to hear the case overturned the latter ruling. In anticipation of an appeal to the supreme court, Governor Haslam asked all five justices to recuse themselves and selected three former judges and two attorneys to hear the case.