Aug 15 2008

The Maryville Daily Times reports that a lawyer for the Tennessee Division of Elections has advised Blount Co. Election Commission that a "special election" to fill the General Sessions Court judge vacancy is not allowed according to a 1984 Attorney General ruling and that County Commission must appoint a replacement.

According to the article, the Tennessee Division of Elections lawyer was not aware of the same scenario in Knox Co., in which Knox County is planning a November election to replace a General Sessions Court judge who was elected to Circuit Court. The lawyer said "maybe" it has something to do with Knox County's home rule charter.

Knox County's home rule charter Article IV, Sec. 4.02 says "If a vacancy occurs in any judicial office of the General Sessions or Juvenile Court, or in any other County judicial office established by law or by this Charter in Knox County, then that vacancy shall be filled by a vote of the Commission as prescribed in this Charter, and the person so selected shall serve until his/her successor is elected and sworn."

It would actually seem more clear that Knox County cannot hold an election. (Unless the charter means for the appointment to be temporary until the next election. The charter does not appear to be as specific as state law on that.) On the other hand, state law applies in Blount County case, and state law seems to directly contradict the Tennessee Constitution. Guess somebody needs to fix that.

It should also be noted that the November election is not a "special" election. It is a regularly scheduled general election. So it's not clear if the 1984 AG opinion applies. In fact, state law specifically states that vacancies occurring in a 120 day window before the November election are to be filled by party convention nominations and a November election.

But we assume nobody will press the issue with Blount County to seek further clarification, and they will do whatever they want to do as usual.

Again, let the people not vote


I'm not buying this argument re: the Tennessee Division of Elections. I agree that "[i]t would actually seem more clear that Knox County cannot hold an election" based on your post. I suppose that I am exhausted with the dictates that come from Nashville that would deny the Blount voters an opportunity to select their own judge.

Just my opinion; opinions are what they are, but I am a lawyer but a free speech advocate first. If there's an opportunity, lets not give up this issue.


Thomas F. Mabry
P. O. Box 52385
Knoxville, TN 37950

Fax 1-888-215-3119
Phone 1-865-671-0598

um.. certainly not 'special'


§ 2-14-106. The county legislative body shall be required to make an appointment to fill a vacancy within one hundred and twenty (120) days of receiving notice of the vacancy unless during that time period there is a general election scheduled in the county and there is sufficient time for the vacancy to be placed on the ballot in accordance with this section.

We should be allowed to vote for the new Sessions Judge.

Sounds pretty definitive to

Sounds pretty definitive to me. So what's up with the Division of Election? Selective AG opinion reporting?

head pounding....

It would be really freaking nice if the State Party got involved about now, eh?

You want me to mail that check where?

Date set to select new Sessions Judge

Commissioner Reeves has the info- (link...)

Pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated 5-5-113, notice is hereby given that the Blount County Board of Commissioners will hold an election as authorized by Tennessee Code Annotated 5-1-104 at 6:00 p.m. at the Blount County Courthouse in Maryville, Tennessee, on September 9, 2008, to fill the anticipated vacancy in the office of General Sessions Judge, Division IV. "

Side note- there is NO TCA 5-5-113 anymore. That bit of code was deleted from TCA by the May 2008 passing of Public Acts, Chapter 871.

Local rules! Local rules! We don't need any kind of stinkin' local rules! No matter what branch of government we are going to make up our own rules! We ARE Blount County!

there is no tca 5-5-113

I do not think this is correct, notice the verbiage "The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply in any county having a population of not less than 897,400 nor more than 897,500 according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census."

This was built to have an affect on probably one county....Legislatures way to amending into or out of a legislative act, make it apply based on population figures of certain census.

Keep reading

You are quoting from the updated TCA 5-5-104

5-5-111 should apply to BC. I don't see how Blount County would be excluded from this chapter.

(h) This section shall not apply to any county which has a metropolitan form of government and a population in excess of five hundred thousand (500,000), according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census.

(i) This section shall not apply to any county having a population of not less than 897,400 nor more than 897,500 according to the 2000 federal census or any subsequent federal census.

Re: Keep Reading

Actually I was quoting from the 2008Public Acts, Chapter 871, bill directly.

It can be found at

I am sure you have read this but others may have not.

yeah..almost there

Chapter 871 makes changes to several sections of code. Your quote is from a new subsection to 5-1-104 and that does not apply to BC as noted. The rest of the changes in 871 do apply to BC.

5-1-104 is what gives the Blount County Commission the power to make appointments.

5-5-111 is how the BC Commission at the minimum shall make the appointments. Those new rules spell out that nominations shall be permitted from registered voters of BC.

SECTION 3. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 5-5-111 is amended by
deleting the section in its entirety and substituting instead the following:

This is one nice piece of legislation as it opens the doors of vacancy appointments to the public. Let's all say thanks to Knox county!

Seems like somebody ought to

Seems like somebody ought to get this info to Commissioner Reeves or Libby Breeding or somebody.

the fustration

Like a monkey in a tree full of fruit, the at home activist has to climb all over the place to find bits of code and put it all together.

The very large backside of the elephant can simply bump up against the same tree and all the fruit falls to their feet.

The monkey does not pay for services such as westlaw but the elephants use county money for the service.

That which takes the at home activist hours and hours to find, they have at their fingertips. So, yes, I am frustrated that the powers don't even appear to use those advantages.


Knox County seeks AG Opinion on open Sessions Judge seat

Knox County is asking for an AG Opinion on whether they may have the open Sessions Court seat on the Nov ballot. As seen on many other AG Opinions, the question will be formatted so that no matter what applies to Knox it will not hold water in Blount.

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