Ex-US Attorney General on Judge Selection Panel

TRAVIS LOLLER | Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) – Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is one of five new members on a panel that nominates candidates for Tennessee's appeals courts and its Supreme Court.

Gonzales was appointed by Gov. Bill Haslam along with Jesse Cannon, Jimmie Carpenter Miller, Cheryl Rice and Amy Weirich.

The Governor's Commission on Judicial Nominations was created by executive order earlier this month as a stop-gap measure after the Legislature let the Judicial Nominating Commission expire in June.

A proposed constitutional amendment would make the panel unnecessary by giving the governor the power to select judges, subject to approval from the Legislature. That amendment will be on the ballot next year.

The new commission is virtually identical to the old one, and 12 of the new panel's 17 members served on the old panel.

Gonzales currently holds the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law at Nashville's Belmont University, where he is a professor in the College of Law. He also works for the Nashville law firm of Waller, Lansden, Dortch and Davis.

Gonzales was the nation's first Hispanic attorney general and held that post from 2005 to 2007 under President George W. Bush. He resigned in 2007 after a controversy over the politically motivated firings of nine U.S. attorneys and amid an uproar over allegations of torture of terrorism suspects.

Prior to his appointment as attorney general, Gonzales served as White House counsel to President Bush.

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