by Steven Hale
In a blog posted Friday. Family Action Council of Tennessee president David Fowler claims voters don't know about the "battle brewing in the legislature" over judicial election. He even says the group's website "may be the only place you'll hear about it."
The issue is whether legislators should put on the ballot for your approval an amendment to the state constitution that would forever eliminate the opportunity for you to have any meaningful input on who sits on our state Supreme Court.
Doesn’t interest you? Well, consider that a majority of just five people in this state get to tell you what your constitutional rights are or aren’t, based on how they “interpret” the state constitution. Consider the fact that three people can interpret (and have interpreted) a statute in ways never contemplated by the legislators who passed it.
Those who sit on the Supreme Court essentially decide the rules for how politics and government work in our state. Therefore, how those judges get on the court is very important.
That being said, I understand the legislator’s statement. But I believe the reason it doesn’t seem to matter to voters is because they don’t know about it. Bet you’ve read or seen several stories about the alleged “monkey bill” that the legislature overwhelmingly passed and the Governor refused to sign. It’s been on radio and television, literally across the nation! Bet you’ve also heard about the “saggy pants” bill. Not one story, though, about the state Supreme Court battle brewing in the legislature.
That, from David Fowler, the man behind last year's successful push to nullify Nashville's anti-discrimination ordinance and the architect of the "Monkey Bill," which he apparently thinks is too petty to be covered. But putting aside how rich such commentary is from such a source, it's the last line in that bit that is truly remarkable and demonstrably false. Below, links to stories on the issue, from this month alone.
Haslam Open to Altering TN Judicial Selection - But Stands Firm Against Direct Elections | TNReport
GOP Not Unified on Judicial Selection | TNReport
Plan to Elect Judges Fails | TNReport
Haslam Measure on Selecting Judges Awaiting Action | Associated Press
Tie Vote Sinks Bill Requiring Popular Election of Judges | Knoxville News Sentinel
Senate Holds Test Vote on Method of Picking Judges | WPLN
And there's more. Jeff Woods wrote about the issue after the governor and both speakers announced their stance on the matter. It's worth noting that Fowler himself was granted the attention of the entire Capitol Hill Press Corps after that announcement and is quoted by Woods. Hell, here are two articles I wrote for TNReport on the subject earlier in the session.
We'll take an occasional comment of this sort from the governor. After all, he was elected and however he may choose to handle these distractions, he doesn't appear to be asking for them. But from David Fowler? No.
Lastly, here's Don Draper reacting to someone like Fowler summoning the audacity to point the finger when it comes to distracting voters from the substantive issues: