Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Cornelia "Connie" Clark visited DeKalb County Thursday morning campaigning to keep her seat on the state's highest court.
Clark, along with Justices Sharon Lee and Gary Wade, are on the August 7 ballot. Voters across the state will be asked whether to "retain" or "replace" these three justices along with twenty appellate judges in Tennessee.
Most members of the DeKalb County Bar Association met with Justice Clark at the courthouse and presented a resolution to officially demonstrate their support for her and the other justices.
Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. said he was contacted recently by former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell about setting up a meeting between Justice Clark and members the local bar association and he was glad to help. "Bill asked me to set up this meeting with Justice Clark and others. I explained to him that the bar here, I felt like, was all for retention (of the justices). I also felt like it was a shame that politics was getting involved in it and that we have some folks who, just because they disagree with an opinion that you (justices) give in a case, that was their reason for getting rid of you. I feel like we need to have justices who are fair and impartial and follow the law and that's what I feel like Connie Clark and others have done," said Parsley
The resolution, presented by General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Hale Cook, II, President of the DeKalb County Bar Association, reads as follows:
"The DeKalb County Bar Association recognizes the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary, and the need for ensuring that the elections of Appellate Court Judges in the State of Tennessee are exercised in a manner that maintains the fairness and impartiality of the courts. Therefore, the DeKalb County Bar Association hereby resolves to officially support the retention of the judges on the Tennessee Supreme Court in the August 7, 2014 judicial retention elections, as recommended by the Tennessee Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission."
"Therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Bar Association encourages its members to vote in favor of the retention of the Supreme Court Justices in the August 7, 2014 judicial election and further encourages the citizens of DeKalb County to vote accordingly."
"There are persons inside Tennessee and persons and interest money from outside Tennessee that have decided that they would like for judges to be chosen or retained on the basis of things other than the oath that we take," said Justice Clark.
"We have very strict ethical rules and I cannot promise you anything. I can't promise that I will fix your tickets. I can't promise that any case that you bring into this court will be decided in your favor. I can promise you really just one thing and that is I will uphold the oath that I have taken. The oath which says that I will obey and enforce the laws of this state, the Constitutions of this state and of the United States. That's a very simple and narrow thing but it's also a very broad and all encompassing thing. Partisan politics has no place in the courtroom. I'm not a politician but I'm pretty sure I know that you want fair and impartial courts like I do and above all things that justice is not for sale in Tennessee," Justice Clark concluded
Justice Clark was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 2005 by former Governor Phil Bredesen and was elected to a full eight-year term in August 2006. On September 1, 2010, she was sworn in as chief justice, becoming the second woman in Tennessee history to serve in that role. Wade became Chief Justice in September, 2012
(PICTURED ABOVE: Local attorneys Hilton Conger, Jon Slager, David Lawrence, Keith Blair, Sarah Cripps, Sue Puckett Jernigan, Justice Connie Clark, Gayla Hendrix, Vester Parsley, Jr., Judge Bratten Cook II, Frank Buck, Lena Buck, Brandon Cox, and Jeremy Trapp)