NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee voters OK constitutional amendment enshrining merit selection for appellate judges.
The constitution has said that Supreme Court justices “shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state.” But since 1994, they have been appointed by the governor. Voters then decide whether to keep or replace them in uncontested retention elections.
The same system has been in place for other appellate judges since 1971. But merit selection has been challenged repeatedly as a violation of the constitution.
The amendment now writes the system into the constitution with an additional provision that gives the Legislature the power to reject a nominee.