KINGSPORT — Three Democratic Tennessee Supreme Court justices seeking to be retained on the August ballot promise they will mount a defense of their seats despite a GOP effort to unseat them.
Justices Sharon Lee of the Eastern Section, Cornelia Clark of the Middle Section and Chief Justice Gary Wade all said in short interviews at The Club at Ridgefields that they will campaign to keep their seats for another eight-year term.
"We're working hard," Lee said. "We're organizing a campaign. We're getting our message and the facts out. We trust that when the voters understand our records and the good work we have done, they'll vote to retain us. ... Lawyers support us. They are going to talk to their fellow attorneys. They will talk to their clients, their friends, their neighbors."
Said Clark: "I think we have a story to tell. ... We will talk about our desire to uphold our oaths and I trust Tennesseans to make good judgments about that. ... We will do advertising just like everybody else will."
Wade also insisted he has confidence in voters and in the quality of work the five-member Tennessee Supreme Court has done.
He pointed to a Tennessee Performance Evaluation Commission (TPEC) recommendation to retain him, Lee and Clark. The nine-member commission included lawyers, non-lawyers and state trial court judges. Sullivan County Criminal Court Judge Rob Montgomery Jr., who has been appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals by GOP Gov. Bill Haslam, was among those on the commission.
All three Democratic state Supreme Court justices, appointed by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, got an "above average" rating from the commission.
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