Gov. Haslam sets up own judicial nominating panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has issued an executive order to create a panel to nominate candidates to fill judicial vacancies after fellow Republicans in the Legislature let the Judicial Nominating Commission expire in June.

Haslam in a release Thursday said the creation of the new panel was necessary to sustain the judicial branch.

A legal opinion from state Attorney General Bob Cooper last week said the governor continues to have the power to fill judicial vacancies despite the end of the commission tasked with nominations.

The new Governor's Commission for Judicial Appointments will have 17 members, the same number that was on the former commission.

The 11 members of the old commission who had unexpired terms will continue to serve on the new panel. Haslam will appoint the remaining six.

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