Friday, May 2, 2014

If Tennessee’s Supreme Court Selects Its AG, It Should Be Held Accountable For His Performance

by George Scoville, The Daily Caller - Tennessee has many quirks that have become the standards by which I have judged society at large over the course of my life. From the cool misty mornings in Smoky Mountain National Park in the east, to Monteagle Mountain atop the Cumberland Plateau in the mid-state area, right down to the dry-rub smoked ribs at Rendezvous in Memphis, these experiences unique to Tennessee have helped me define beauty, majesty, and what I consider to be “the good life” after spending almost all of my natural life as a resident of the Volunteer State. I am certainly glad to be living here again after almost five years in the nation’s capital.

As a political observer, though, I’m troubled by a peculiar function of state government: Tennessee is the only state in the Union whose Supreme Court selects its Attorney General. That’s not by accident, either; Article VI, Section 5 of the Tennessee Constitution directs the Supreme Court to appoint the AG to an eight-year term. By comparison, 43 other states’ attorneys general are elected by popular ballot, five states’ governors appoint their attorneys general, and Maine’s legislature elects its attorney general. What separates Tennessee from all those other states, aside from procedural differences and constitutional mandates in selecting the attorney general, is that ours has the lowest relative level of accountability. (continue reading)

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