Tommy Crangle, a Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, believes in term limits for federal judges, even if it means losing a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Crangle, who has an engineering background and owns a real estate development company, on Monday outlined his positions in a meeting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board.

He recommended that judges be limited to 20-year terms, although he said he realized his position on federal judge term limits could result in a more left-leaning court.

"You have to do the right thing, no matter what the environment is at the time," he said.

Mr. Crangle also said he worries the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's deepwater well might dictate energy policy going forward. Mr. Crangle, who worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority from 1968-1994 according to his resume, wants to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. He said that, while he's in favor of pursuing alternative sources of energy, he believes there now are not any other good alternatives to fossil fuels.

He said he favors giving people the opportunity to opt out of Social Security and Medicare. He's 65, but said he still hasn't decided whether he'll draw benefits from those programs.

Mr. Crangle also outlined several other positions, including authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments in government buildings and overturning Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said women have a right to abortions.

Richard Wilson, a professor of political science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga who said he votes in the Democratic primary, said he doesn't think Mr. Crangle has thought his positions through carefully.

"There's been a conservative court since 1973, and there's been multiple opportunities to overturn (Roe v. Wade)," Dr. Wilson said. "The courts have always upheld it."

On the subject of the Ten Commandments in government buildings, "Even the conservative majority on the court has not been able to overturn existing interpretation of the establishment clause, which prohibits the posting of the Ten Commandments in any of the public buildings," Dr. Wilson said.

Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, called Mr. Crangle an "extreme right-wing" politician. He said term limits should be determined by elections and said the United States was founded on a "clear separation of church and state."

"While I certainly support the Ten Commandments and the important Christian values they instill in all Americans, our courts have found the Constitution allows for those to be displayed in churches and private homes but not on public buildings," Mr. Forrester said.


* Republicans

Tommy Crangle, Chuck Fleischmann, Tim Gobble, Harvey Howard, Jean Howard-Hill, Van Irion, Rick Kernea, Basil Marceaux Sr., Art Rhodes, Robin Smith, Grover Travillian

* Democrats

Alicia Mitchell, Brenda Freeman Short, Brent Davis Staton, John Wolfe

* Independents

Don Barkman, Mark DeVol, Gregory C. Goodwin, Robert Humphries, Mo Kiah, Savas T. Kyriakidis

* The state primary is Aug. 5.

Source: Tennessee Department of State

Tommy Crangle

Age: 65

Occupation: CEO of a real estate development company, Positive Impact, Inc. Former expert for the U.S. Department of Defense

Fundraising: $100,000