Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to move quickly on appellate judge nominations

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to move quickly on appellate judge nominations

July 8th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam expects to move quickly in selecting three new state appellate judges from a list of 18 candidates forwarded to him in the waning hours of the Judicial Nominating Commission.

"Our working our assumption is we will name those in the next 60 days anyway," Haslam told reporters today. "The legal guys have said we can go ahead and name those and then they're judges in waiting, I guess."

Before it went out of existence on July 1, the 17-member commission sent Haslam two three-person panels for each of three court of appeals vacancies expected to occur in14 months. The three sitting appellate court judges have announced they will not run for re-election and end their terms on Aug. 31, 2014.

State lawmakers did not renew the commission, which screens and nominates judicial candidates, and thus the commission went out of business on July 1.

Before that happened, however, the commission, forwarded lists of recommendations for Haslam to pick from. Ordinarily, the commission would forward a three-nominee panel for each vacancy with the governor able to reject all and the commission nominate three more.

But recognizing they would no longer be around, the commission offered up two slates of three for each expected vacancy.

Among those selected for the expected vacancy in the Eastern Section of the Court of Criminal Appeals was Chattanooga attorney Boyd Patterson, former director of the city's Gang Task Force and an assistant district attorney.

Haslam, meanwhile, said his administration is still exploring how to legally handle another expected retirement with state Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder recently announcing she, too, will not seek reelection on the retention ballot in 2014.