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Process, deadline announced to fill Supreme Court seats

(From the Administrative Office of the Courts)
The Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission will hold two separate meetings to fill vacancies on the state Supreme Court being created by the Aug. 31 retirements of Justices E. Riley Anderson of Knoxville and Adolpho A. Birch, Jr., of Nashville, commission chairman Mike Bottoms said Monday.

“I believe this is the fairest procedure for all applicants and hopefully both positions can be filled by September 1,” Bottoms said. Under the Tennessee Constitution, no more than two Supreme Court justices can reside in the same grand division of the state. Each of the three Supreme Court members who have qualified for the Aug. 3 retention election resides in separate grand divisions - Chief Justice William Barker of Chattanooga in the Eastern Division, Justice Janice M. Holder of Memphis in the Western Division and Justice Cornelia A. Clark in the Middle Division.

Bottoms said applicants for the first position to be filled can apply from any region of the state. The appointment of the first justice by Gov. Phil Bredesen will determine the remaining two grand divisions from which applications can be taken.

The deadline to receive applications for the first pending vacancy is 4:30 p.m. CST March 31. Information on how to submit applications is available on the court system website at www.tncourts.gov.

Bottoms said the Judicial Selection Commission will announce a date for its meeting to conduct a public hearing and interview applicants as soon as the information is available. The meeting date also will be posted on the court system website.

“At this first meeting, the commission will consider applications from attorneys residing in any grand division of the state,” Bottoms said. “After recommendations are made to the governor and his selection is made, a second meeting will be scheduled. At the second meeting, the commission will consider applications from attorneys who reside in the two grand divisions not represented by two justices.”

Bottoms said unsuccessful applicants for the first position may reapply for the second position “subject to the constitutional geographic limitation.”

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