Lawyers & Public:
Knoxville Bar Association NEWS
A resource for the public
Since last fall, the Judicial Committee of the Knoxville Bar Association has been working on a "Get to Know Your Judicial Candidates" section of the KBA website to provide information about state court candidates running for judge in 2014. The site includes resources from the League of Women Voters and details on the election process from the Knox County Election Commission so that voters will know what to look for in a judicial candidate. In addition the site has information for judicial candidates, including detailed material on the ethics rules for campaigning.
The primary focus, however, is on the bios of the individual candidates and information about each court. This information, delivered in a straightforward and easy-to-understand format, provides a convenient way for voters in Knox County to get non-partisan information about candidates running for judge so they can make an informed decision at the ballot box. View the "Get to Know Your Judicial Candidates" section.
The KBA and the League of Women Voters of Knoxville/Knox County (LWVKKC) partnered to hold a moderated forum on July 17th. See photos.
Watch the YouTube video on the importance of voting in Judicial Elections by KBA President Wade Davies.
APPELLATE COURT JUDGES ON AUGUST 7TH BALLOT
Take the time to view the candidate profiles of the appellate court judges up for re-election at www.knoxbar.org. Carefully consider if the judicial candidate has the breadth of experience relevant to the position he or she is seeking.
In August, the state's Supreme Court Justices and Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals Judges will be subject to a retention vote. For these judges, voters will choose either "retain" or "replace" when they are in the voting booth.
Voters need to decide if the Supreme Court has been doing its job: deciding cases based upon the facts and a fair application of the law and the constitution. Those decisions should be informed by facts, not by incomplete information or partisan posturing. The judicial branch is the one branch of our government that is to be removed from partisan politics and it is up to the voters to ensure that this remains true in Tennessee.
What Does It Mean to Vote Retain?
A vote to "retain" means you would like to see this judge remain on the bench, while a vote to "replace " means you no longer wish this judge to remain on the bench. Any judge who is not retained will be replaced through an appointment process. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission recommends that all of the appellate judges currently on the bench be retained on August 7, 2014. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission is a group selected by both the Speaker of the Senate and Speaker of the House, to evaluate each judge's performance, including whether each judge has performed his or her job in an unbiased and non-political manner.
Why is the Appointment/Retention System important to the judicial system?
All of the appellate judges who will be on the August 2014 ballot were originally appointed by the Governor on each candidate's experience and qualifications. The Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission reviewed all of those appointments. That Commission recommends retention of all of the judges on the ballot.
It is important that judges be neutral, review each case on the merits, and make decisions based on the law. It is equally important that those decisions not be swayed or influenced by the political will or whims of the day. Maintaining a system whereby judges are appointed based on the judge's qualifications and past experience is important to maintaining a fair and impartial judiciary.
Electing judges who most closely meet the criteria for the highest qualified candidates is of utmost importance because you never know when a judge you vote for today will make a decision that will affect your business, or even more importantly, the decision may impact the lives of your family and friends. It is our responsibility to vote for judges we can trust to make impartial decisions based on fair consideration of the facts and law. That is why it is so important to vote for qualified people to be judges.