VOL. 129 | NO. 139 | Friday, July 18, 2014
Justices Stump in Memphis as Early Voting Begins
By Bill Dries
Early voting in Shelby County opened Friday, July 18, with that most political of omens – rain.
The three Tennessee Supreme Court justices on the ballot statewide were at the Burch, Porter & Johnson law firm a few blocks from the Shelby County Election Commission early voting site Downtown.
Knoxville attorney Terry Adams, running in the four-way Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, was at the election commission site, 157 Poplar Ave., as the doors opened to early voters at 10 a.m.
For Adams, it is the start of a 100-stop schedule across the state that runs the duration of the early voting period, through Aug. 2. The last stop will be a return to Memphis.
Election day in the set of county general and state and federal primary elections is Aug. 7.
Early voting expands Monday, July 21, to 20 satellite sites across Shelby County.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee will be campaigning door to door in Memphis Saturday, a rare political phenomenon that reflects the hard-fought campaign in the set of three Supreme Court retention races at the bottom of the ballot, along with retention races for 20 other appellate judicial positions statewide.
Lee, Justice Gary Wade and Chief Justice Cornelia Clark face an organized campaign that includes Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey urging voters to vote out all three justices.
The two other justices on the five-member court are not seeking re-election but will serve until their terms end Sept. 1, meaning someone will be appointed to those two positions after the elections.
Lee, Wade and Clark told a group of 40 attorneys at the law firm that their re-election efforts are a larger campaign to “keep politics out of the courtroom.”
Those campaigning for their defeat have framed the effort as a larger call for reform of the judiciary and the way judges are selected in Tennessee.
In November, voters across the state will decide a referendum question that would change the process for appointing appellate court judges to include confirmation by Tennessee legislators of those nominated by the governor – similar to the process for appointment of federal judges by the president and the U.S. Senate.
The Tennessee Supreme Court retention races on the August ballot are considered a barometer on the November referendum.