Fore Note:I received the email below with a correction to the article I ran Monday pertaining to all the judges on the August ballot. Please note the correction to the story. I appreciate the correction/update.

Subject: Comment on "All Those Judges" Blog Post

Mr. Shaver:

I wanted to let you know that Judge Holly M. Kirby, who is on the ballot for retention to the Court of Appeals, actually has already been appointed by Gov. Haslam to the Supreme Court, effective September 1.  She replaces retiring Justice Janice Holder. The appointment occurred in December of 2013 in anticipation of Justice Holder's retirement at the end of August.  

I thought I would share that information since you correctly have indicated in the posted article that Justice Jeffrey Bivins, who remains on the retention ballot for the Court of Criminal Appeals, already has been sworn in as a justice on the Supreme Court.   

Porsche Shantz
Staff Attorney
Court of Appeals, Eastern Division


Fore Note: The August election ballot is rather long mostly due to all the "Judge Retain" question. Below is an excellent article pertaining to all the judges on this election ballot. Wish I had had this information before I voted.

My appreciation for this article goes out to Mr. Ty Jones, Chairman of the Hardin County Republican Party. 

Many of you have asked about the many judges on the ballot for a retention vote this year. Here is a little bit of information that you may find helpful.

As you may know, each of these judges on the ballot were appointed to their positions by one of Tennessee's former Governors (some Republican and some Democrat), or by our current Republican Governor. Every 8 years they face a YES/NO retention vote - basically, the voters of Tennessee are asked to "RETAIN" or "REPLACE" the judges. If they are not retained, our current Republican Governor will appoint a new judge to their position.

There are three types of judges on the ballot this year:
1. Supreme Court Justices (our state's highest court)
2. Court of Appeals (hears appeals from civil - not criminal - cases)
3. Court of Criminal Appeals (hears appeals of criminal cases)

All of these judges play a crucial role. For example - Most everyone is familiar with the fact that our State Supreme Court is the highest appellate court in the state, but how many of you knew...

The Supreme Court is made up of five (5) justices;
Three were appointed by a Democrat Governor;
Two were appointed by a Republican Governor;
Each of the three appointed by a Democrat Governor is on the ballot for retention/replacement this year;
The five Supreme Court justices appoint the state Attorney General (we are the ONLY state in the union that does this);
We currently have a Democrat Attorney General;
His term expires this year;
The Supreme Court will appoint a new Attorney General (or appoint the current Attorney General for another term) this year.

I know that was a little bit lengthy, but it is merely one example of the many roles judges play in our state.

One of the most common questions we have received is "Which judges were appointed by Republican Governors and which judges were appointed by Democrat Governors?" Well, below is each judge on the ballot this year, followed by the Governor who appointed them to the bench:

Supreme Court
Lee - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Clark - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Wade - appointed by Democrat Bredesen

Court of Appeals
Bennett - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Clement - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Dinkins - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Frierson - appointed by Republican Haslam
Kirby - appointed by Republican Sundquist*See Note Above
McBrayer - appointed by Republican Haslam
McClarty - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Stafford - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Susano - appointed by Democrat McWherter
Swiney - appointed by Republican Sundquist

Court of Criminal Appeals
Bivins (Haslam actually just appointed him to the Supreme Court)
Glenn - appointed by Republican Sundquist
McMullen - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Ogle - appointed by Republican Sundquist
Page - appointed by Republican Haslam
Thomas - appointed by Democrat Bredesen
Wedemeyer - appointed by Republican Haslam
Williams - appointed by Republican Sundquist
Witt - appointed by Republican Sundquist
Woodall - appointed by Republican Sundquist

Hopefully you find this to be useful information. There are a LOT of judges on the ballot this year, so don't be afraid to make a list and carry it to the polls with you.

Also, please remember that this is not the sole means of evaluating judges. It is strictly for informational purposes due to the numerous times we have received this question.