The Tennessee Supreme Court has opened up applications for Attorney General, and the current AG, Bob Cooper, has announced that he’ll seek another term. This follows a conservative effort to remove three Democratic judges on the bench, a campaign largely motivated by a desire to appoint a Republican to the state’s top attorney slot.
Cooper, nearing the end of his eight-year term, said in a statement that voters last Thursday, in deciding to retain the three contested judges, sent a clear message “that they want an independent, nonpartisan judicial branch.“
Lt. Gov Ron Ramsey led the campaign to oust the three judges, who defeated the opposition by a historically tight margin. Ramsey accused the judges of being soft on crime, particularly on the death penalty issue. And Ramsey’s advertisements connected the justices to Obamacare, since Cooper wouldn’t join a multi-state lawsuit attacking the health-care law.
The group Tennessee Forum, fueled by a political action committee started by Ramsey, raised nearly half-a-million dollars to boot the justices from the high court. Asked if the group plans to back a candidate for AG in November, a Tennessee Forum spokeswoman said: “No, not that I’m aware of.”
Ramsey wouldn’t say whether he would be backing a candidate in November, but in a statement said that he “continues to believe that Tennessee should have an attorney general who reflects the conservative principles and values of its governor, its legislature and its people.”