Three in mix for Tenn. SC job

John O'Brien Aug. 18, 2008, 4:20pm

Seated is Chief Justice William M. Barker and standing, left to right, are Justices Gary R. Wade, Janice M. Holder, Cornelia A. Clark, and William C. Koch, Jr.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - Tennessee's Judicial Selection Commission has passed three names on to Gov. Phil Bredesen, who will pick the state's newest Supreme Court justice out of them.

Sharon Lee and John Westley McClarty, the first two to apply for the spot, make up the field, along with D. Bruce Shine. The JSC made its decision Monday.

Lee is a Court of Appeals judge in Knoxville, and McClarty is an attorney in Chattanooga.

Shine's firm, Shine & Mason, is located in Kingsport.

Lee's application can be viewed here, while McClarty's can be viewed here and Shine's here.

Chief Justice William Barker's last day on the bench is Sept. 15. He originally scheduled his retirement two weeks earlier, but decided to stick around to give the Court a full roster of justices on Sept. 3.

"When I notified the governor in early May of my intended retirement on Sept. 1, I had hoped that would allow enough time for the selection process to be completed before the court heard cases in Knoxville," Barker said.

"However, the Judicial Selection Commission will not be able to meet until Aug. 18 to evaluate applicants for the Supreme Court and recommend three names to the governor. That close time frame, coupled with the Labor Day holiday, convinced me that I need to be available to sit with the court."

The last time Bredesen had to pick a justice, William Koch was eventually named after months of controversy.

Included in the conflict were allegations that Bredesen violated the state's Human Rights Act by demanding a minority be one of the three applicants approved by the state's Judicial Selection Commission.

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