New idea for AG selection: Supreme Court nominates, subject to General Assembly confirmation

A Republican senator said Monday he is revising his resolution that would change the Tennessee Constitution and put the General Assembly in charge of naming the state’s next attorney general, reports the Times Free Press.

Senate State and Local Committee Chairman Ken Yager, R-Kingston, said the move came after discussions with Sen. Art Swann, R-Maryville, who has an amendment to alter Yager’s proposed Senate Joint Resolution 88.

Yager’s resolution would begin the years-long process of amending the Tennessee Constitution to take the selection of the state attorney general away from the state Supreme Court and give the decision over to members of the House and Senate.

Swann’s idea is to allow the five Supreme Court justices to nominate the attorney general with the House and Senate later voting to confirm or reject the candidate.

… Yager said his main priority is making the selection process open.

“When I presented the bill I said I would be open to feedback, and [Swann] took advantage of that offer,” Yager said late Monday afternoon after the Senate session where he rolled his resolution for a second time. “We are looking at an amendment that may satisfy him and others.”

Yager said he also has solicited input from Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivens and hopes to have the resolution back on the Senate floor Thursday.

7 Responses to New idea for AG selection: Supreme Court nominates, subject to General Assembly confirmation

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Or we could do something really wild and crazy by allowing the voters to select the attorney general by voting in primaries and general elections. I think they call it “democracy.”

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    James White says:

    I agree with Stuart. The TN Legislature is too powerful, and they run roughshod over individual and property rights. Why have an AG that is at the control of the Governor or Legislature. Let us have one for the People.

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    David Collins says:

    NEVER THE TENNESSEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY!!! You’ve heard of the Midas touch? The Tennessee General Assembly has the fecal touch. That is the last group of people we need having input on this question. In every state that has an attorney general elected by the voters, the office is used as a political stepping stone to run for higher office. The same phenomenon used to occur when Tennessee had an elected Public Service Commission. You end up getting the best politician instead of the best attorney for the job. It should not be a political decision. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. It ain’t broke.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      But David, the office of attorney general is to a considerable extent a discretionary rather than merely a ministerial one insofar as it concerns the determination as to where to spend the resources of the Office and that determination involves political and philosophical as well as legal considerations. Any office involving discretion that is as insulated from the voters as our attorney general is an affront to democracy and is a result of an electoral system that is “broke” and needs fixing.

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    Susan E Gingrich says:

    PA made a change some years ago. Prior to voters electing the attorney general, the governor appointed the AG. I like the direct election versus appointment or anything being proposed in TN. The governor and A/G were from different parties when I left for TN.

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    Michael Lottman says:

    Yager’s proposal combines the worst of what we have now and the worst we could possibly have afterward. Let the people elect the AG!

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    Eddie White says:

    Here is a novel idea, let the people of Tennessee decide who their AG is. In the majority of states the voters elect the AG. Surely Tennesseans are capable of making that decision. We don’t need the state Supreme Court or state legislature to make that decision for us.

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