NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Business Roundtable held its 26th annual meeting in Nashville to discuss, among other things, the legislature’s efforts to change the state appellate court’s election process.
President Jim Powell, Powell Construction Company, opened the meeting and Justice Bill Koch, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, Governor Phil Bredesen and former Senator Bill Frist were the featured speakers.
The Roundtable announced it has adopted a formal resolution urging the state legislature to keep in place a form of merit selection with retention election for appellate court judges. The roundtable agreed direct partisan elections would be negative for the state and its business environment.
To better explain how direct partisan elections would affect the state, Koch asked whether the fans at a UT-Vanderbilt football game in Neyland Stadium would believe the decisions of the referees were fair and impartial if Vanderbilt fans were paying the referees. Similarly, people with cases being decided by the courts would have serious questions about whether judges were fair and impartial if thousands of dollars had been contributed to the campaign funds of the judges by the other side. “This lack of confidence in a fair and impartial judiciary,” Koch said, “has been shown repeatedly by polls conducted in states with elected appellate court judges, and that undermines respect for the rule of law and the courts.”... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.