NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam's handpicked special state Supreme Court ran off the tracks at least temporarily today when three of the five justices, including former Chief Justice William "Mickey" Barker of Signal Mountain, recused themselves.
Haslam had appointed the special Supreme Court to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of how Supreme Court justices and other appellate judges are selected.
Also stepping down were former Supreme Court Justice George H. Brown and Robert Echols, a former U.S. District Court judge.
Critics, including John Jay Hooker, who has challenged Tennessee's current merit-selection system for appellate judges in court, have questioned the appointments of Barker, Brown and Echols.
All three men have ties to Tennesseans for Fair and Impartial Courts, which has lobbied the General Assembly against changing the system.