Commission picks 3 nominees for Tennessee Supreme Court

Associated Press • Apr 14, 2007 at 9:48 AM

NASHVILLE - The state Judicial Selection Commission on Friday reintroduced two previous candidates and added a new third for Gov. Phil Bredesen to consider in filling the final vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

According to spokeswoman Sue Allison, the commission chose: Circuit Judge D'Army Bailey of Memphis, Court of Appeals Judge William C. Koch Jr. of Nashville, and Circuit Judge C. Creed McGinley of Savannah.

Both Bailey and Koch appeared on a slate of candidates that was challenged by the governor and then struck down by the Supreme Court because it included a third candidate who had been rejected before.

Under the Tennessee Plan for judicial selection adopted in 1994, the governor chooses new justices from a three-person panel compiled by the commission. If he rejects the first panel, the governor is required to select one of the nominees in the second panel.

A legal tangle developed last year in filling two vacancies caused by retirement. The first vacancy was filled without controversy, but the second ran into trouble when the only minority candidate on a slate of nominees withdrew citing family reasons.

Bredesen wrote the commission that he wanted a new panel that included qualified minority candidates, and the commissioner responded by sending him one with the name of J. Houston Gordon, a member of the earlier rejected panel. The Supreme Court agreed with Bredesen that Gordon should not have been eligible.

Besides Gordon, that second panel included Koch, who is white, and Bailey, who is black.

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