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State of Tennessee

History of Reform Efforts: Tennessee

Active Organizations

Tennessee Bar Association
In 1998, the Tennessee Bar Association formed a blue-ribbon committee on judicial independence to "counter increasing attacks on the Tennessee judiciary by special interest groups." The committee works with other civic groups, such as the Tennessee Farm Bureau and the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, to raise public awareness about the importance of judicial independence. In addition, the TBA has formed a committee to respond to unfair criticism of sitting judges who, because of ethical constraints, cannot defend themselves. For the 1998 retention elections, the TBA conducted a public service campaign to educate voters regarding factors to consider when selecting judicial candidates. They sponsored a radio advertising campaign and prepared information kits that were available online and upon request. Kits included a brochure on Tennessee's judicial performance evaluation program, the Tennessee appellate judges evaluation report, and guidelines on the factors to be considered in evaluating judicial candidates.

Tennessee League of Women Voters
The League of Women Voters of Tennessee is a nonpartisan political organization that seeks to influence public policy through education and advocacy. It has worked with the Tennessee Bar Association's blue-ribbon commission to raise public awareness of judicial independence. The League also supports reform of the Tennessee judicial system, particularly in the areas of redistricting, uniformity in structure, and methods of disciplining and removing judges.