Email Gov. Lee and YOUR Representatives sharing why our courts should stay focused on JUSTICE not POLITICS

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Update Tuesday May 4, 2021

New developments: 

  • On Monday afternoon (May 3), the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee passed a new version of the constitutional supercourt bill. That bill is headed to the House floor on May 4.
  • The Senate Finance Committee is also scheduled to consider the legislation on May 4, but it is unknown whether Senate leaders have agreed to the House Amendment.

Gov. Lee's attempted court takeover, in any form, is attempting to rig the system so that he can pick his own judges to rule on his own bills, at a cost of millions to taxpayers.

How the House and Senate bills are alike: 

  • The Senate and the House versions of the bill would each create a constitutional supercourt consisting of three judges elected through statewide elections, with one judge representing each of the Grand Divisions.
  • In both versions of the bill, the governor makes the initial appointment of the judges.

How the House and Senate bills are different:

  • The Senate bill creates a trial court, while the House bill creates an appellate court.
  • The Senate bill requires the judges to run in two partisan elections (a primary and a general), while the House version requires them to run in a yes-no retention election.

GUIDANCE FOR YOUR EMAIL TO LAWMAKERS AND GOV. LEE:

  • make it personal. share why it's important to you that our courts stay focused on JUSTICE not POLITICS.
  • Ask Gov. Lee, and Tennessee legislature, to reject this power-grab and let our courts focus on justice, not politics.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

This new House bill -- to put the constitutional supercourt at the appellate level -- is no better than the Senate one to create the new Chancery Court.

Conversations about this new court have happened behind closed doors, and the experts are unfortunately on the wrong side of those doors.

Now there are competing amendments that each have their own problems. We’re going to end up in a mess and be a national example of what not to do.

Each of these bills is spending $2 million (or more) solving a problem that can be solved in other ways. If the General Assembly wants to diminish the influence of the Davidson County Chancery Court, it has the opportunity to do that with HB1196/SB0454 (Garrett/Bell), which does not create the same logistical and fiscal upheaval.

National groups will almost certainly want to challenge this legislation in court. Looking at how the bills are currently drafted, they would have a solid case.

As any expert court could tell you, the mechanics of this court don’t work, whether it’s at the trial court or the appellate level.

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