TN group questions whether Supreme Court justices reflect state values
By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
NASHVILLE — Much has been made about out-of-state money trying to influence the outcome of this summer’s Tennessee Supreme Court retention election — on both political sides — but the issue may boil down to something far less complex.
What if justices Gary Wade, Connie Clark and Sharon Lee, all appointed by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, simply don’t reflect the values of most people in conservative, red-state Tennessee?
That’s the argument an organization known as the Tennessee Forum is making to voters.
Forum leader Susan Kaestner told Tennessee Watchdog the organization formed in 2000 to warn voters that Tennessee native and Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore didn’t represent Tennessee values.
Gore didn’t carry Tennessee in that election, likely costing him the presidency.
“I think that our three branches of government, including the judiciary, should be a reflection of the people,” Kaestner said. “It’s fair to ask if these people reflect the values of Tennesseans.”
Tennessee Watchdog reached out to Carol Andrews, identified as a spokeswoman for the three justices, as well as representatives of Keep Tennessee’s Supreme Court Fair, but no one immediately returned our requests for comment.
“I think it’s OK to say that I want people who have the same fundamental beliefs about government that I have being in the third branch of government, that is supposedly accountable to me,” Kaestner said.
“I worry when I hear all this stuff about the judiciary supposedly being independent. Independence does not mean not accountable.”
As Tennessee Watchdog previously reported, Wade has implied that revenge, not justice, motivates death penalty supporters. Also, George Soros and other left-wing activists have involved themselves in the retention election, on the side of the justices.
According to Kaestner, the Tennessee Forum is a nonprofit that has opposed politicians on both sides of the aisle.
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