What’s next for the proposed super chancery court?

The state Capitol on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The two chambers of the General Assembly are advancing competing versions of a bill seeking to bypass the chancery court in Nashville as the venue for constitutional challenges. The Senate version, which passed 27-6, would create a new super chancery court made up of three judges elected statewide. The House voted 68-23 on Wednesday to establish a special court of appeals comprised of three judges who would stand for retention elections.

The differing approaches appear destined for a conference committee to try to work out the differences. But it’s unclear where the twain might meet.

The Senate measure is sponsored by Judiciary Chair Mike Bell (R-Riceville), a longtime advocate of popular elections for judges. As is Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Finance Chair Bo Watson (R-Hixson). So backing off of the contested election element would be a tough bill to swallow. But after the House decided to go with the appeals court concept, the lower chamber appears locked into the idea replace-retain elections for members of the new bench.

A layer of unease about the bill is that the governor would appoint the members of both versions of the new court, which has led to criticism that he would be able to stack the bench to favor his own legislative initiatives that have either already run into trouble in court, or could do so in the future.

One way to lift that concern would be hold open races for the judicial seats in August 2022 rather than have the new chancellors first be appointed by the governor. But that would only work for the Senate bill, as the House measure by definition involves the appointment of judges.

UPDATE: After extensive closed-door huddling, the Senate has retreated on its demand for electing statewide judges. Under a compromise, the chancellor who lands a legal challenge of constitutional or redistricting matters would be joined by two other chancellors from the remaining two grand divisions to preside over the case.

20 Responses to What’s next for the proposed super chancery court?

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    Come on guys, keep your eye on the ball. The main goal is to reduce the ability of the grievance industry to go forum shopping and land under the jurisdiction of a chancery court in a liberal ghetto with its inevitably activist liberal judge. The adjournment clock is ticking so PLEASE work this out.
    ____________________________________________________
    Fellow conservatives, we must remember that Trumpism and conservatism are not the same. Just read that Trump wants Elise Stefanik (Heritage-48%) to replace Liz Cheney (Heritage-80%) as Chairman of the Republican Conference. BAD TRADEOFF!!!!!

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      Cryan says:

      And Trump gets what he wants for his GQP party whether it’s conservative or not, dipshit.

      Elise Stefanik is your new conference leader because TRUMP said so.

      GQP Civil War

    • Avatar
      MARLE says:

      For a heritage devotee do you need any further evidence that Trump is calling the shots. STILL. You are like Chamberlain with your head in the sand until the bitter end.

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        Cryan says:

        MARLE, here’s the crazy thing. In about 3 months he’ll be pretending like he was Stefanik’s biggest supporter from day one. Remember all that shit talk about Bill Lee being a no-record failure? Now he’s his biggest fan and thinks no one would ever primary him when it’s pretty obvious several are considering a challenge.

        I see what you’re trying to do, Stuart, and you’re really bad it. No matter how many times you say it, the GQP Civil War rages on.

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      MARLE, I haven’t been keeping up with who were the top prospective successors to Cheney as Conference Chairman as to whether Stefanik was favored to take the job anyway or whether she’s a dark horse that Trump suddenly elevated. It will be interesting to see if she is elected now that she has received Trump’s endorsement for the job. Stefanik is simply a terrible, more anemia for an already anemic House Republican leadership.

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      Jeff says:

      You don’t get to go forum shopping when you sue the state. You must file in the capital city.

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        Stuart I. Anderson says:

        Thanks Jeff, I didn’t know that. Hopefully that’s one of the things that the legislature is trying to change or have an expedited appellate process so some activist leftist judge in Sodom isn’t able to enjoin the state from acting under law and by the time an appeal is heard it’s often too late under present circumstances.

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      Taxpayer #314 says:

      Stuart knows the truth, “The main goal is to reduce the ability of the grievance industry.” The Republicans don’t want anybody to criticize the party or file a grievance or file a law suit against anything they propose, ever. Then they go ahead and introduce all kinds of illegal or unethical legislation. The Conservatives are trying to remain just barley legal while the actual Republicans don’t care who goes to jail, as long as they have POWER.

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    Not that Stuart guy says:

    Ridiculous and unconstitutional. And Stuart above gets it wrong -it is not about forum shopping at all. For some reason, the legislature again forgets they sit in Davidson County.

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      Cryan says:

      I don’t even know what this court-packing attempt will accomplish for them other than wasting more taxpayer money. Their unconstitutional laws will eventually be struck down by the Supreme Court.

      I wouldn’t be surprised the reasoning behind this is really about stacking the TNGQP bench with more overpaid statewide office holders.

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        Taxpayer #314 says:

        And the taxpayers are the ones that will pay for all this nonsense and I am only #314 on a long list of Taxpayers. The 2 proposed Bills in both the House and Senate are wrong all the way and most voters will agree that neither one will hold up in any “real” court.

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    Jonathan Swift says:

    Don’t you just love how the “less government, smaller government” conservative Republicans continue to expand government if they think it’s beneficial only to them?

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    steve cates says:

    GET them OUT OF TOWN as quickly as possible. They only do DAMAGE!!

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      Yes steve, nothing like that live and let live legislature in Washington D. C. led by mega control freaks Pelosi (Heritage 12%) and Schumer (Heritage-3%) and their obedient robots.

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        Cryan says:

        Oh wow, Stefanik is almost as liberal as Nancy Pelosi and Schumer. Well, Trump did donate to them for years up to 2015. Makes sense he would install her as conference chair.

        Good luck with the GQP Revolution! TRUMP!

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        Taxpayer #314 says:

        Since Biden was elected, the Democrats have done exactly what they said they would do FOR the country, in spite of all the conservative and republican nonsense. Democratic “approval ratings are extremely high even AMONG REPUBLICANS.” Biden has successfully addressed the Pandemic and helped most Americans get back on track. Look at the numbers. It is the Republicans and Conservatives that are saying loudly that they will vote for NOTHING the Dems propose. Republicans supported 1. No food Assistance. 2. No assistance for Jobs or unemployed workers. A continuing promise from *itch McConnell insuring that there will be ZERO votes from any conservatives or republicans for any plan proposed by Democrats. That’s really Un-American but McConnell is consumed/blinded by Trump. Trump & McConnell, along with some help from a few others just may bring the show to a close soon. They have nothing to offer, they pledge solid NO VOTES on every issue that comes up. No negotiations, just a strong NO and yet they cry about being so in favor of bipartisan cooperation. They wonder why their support is slipping…but we know why!

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    Taxpayer #314 says:

    The polls today show that President Biden has a 63% Approval Rating for his handling of the Pandemic. I don’t recall Trump EVER having an approval rating even close to that high on any issue!

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