Haslam appoints panel to hear judge lawsuit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has appointed a special panel to hear a lawsuit concerning the state's system for selecting appeals court judges after all the current Tennessee Supreme Court justices recused themselves from the case.

The governor's office said in a news release Friday that the panel will decide any appeal of the case brought by John Jay Hooker, a two-time Democratic Party nominee for governor.

The appointees are former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice William M. Barker, Nashville attorney Andree Sophia Blumstein, former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice George H. Brown Jr., former U.S. District Court Chief Judge Robert L. Echols and Knoxville attorney W. Morris Kizer.

The lawsuit contends Haslam's appointment of a criminal appeals court judge last year violates the state constitution. A Davidson County judge dismissed the lawsuit.


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