A resolution giving voters an opportunity to amend Tennessee’s Constitution to change the process by which the state’s Attorney General (AG) is selected was recommended for adoption by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Senate Joint Resolution 1, sponsored by Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ken Yager (R-Kingston), calls for an open nomination process by the Tennessee Supreme Court, followed by a confirmation vote of the nominee by a majority of both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly.
TOP PHOTO: Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) presenting Senate Joint Resolution 1 in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday
“The reason for this legislation is two-fold,” said Sen. Yager. “It will provide for a more transparent process in the selection of nominees. The second is that confirmation by the General Assembly will make the process more broad-based and accountable, giving elected officials a role in the process. It also keeps intact a role for the judiciary in the process.”
Tennessee is the only state in which the state’s Supreme Court appoints the attorney general. Since the state’s Supreme Court justices are selected by the governor, the people have no elected representatives involved in the process. The votes taken by the court on nominees are not currently disclosed to the public.
The resolution would require the votes of the Supreme Court justices to be held in open court, with recorded votes. Once the nomination is made, the legislature would have sixty days to go through the confirmation process. In the event that the candidate is rejected, then the Supreme Court would have 60 days to make another nomination.
“I am pleased with the committee’s support of this legislation. I have worked on this proposal for the past six years and this specific resolution for two years,” added Yager. “It represents a combined effort from multiple parties and will be a much better process for selection of our state’s highest legal officer.”