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VOL. 36 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 21, 2012

Haslam picks 3 for special Supreme Court panel

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NASHVILLE (AP) - Gov. Bill Haslam has selected three people to serve on a special state Supreme Court panel to hear a lawsuit concerning the state's system for selecting appeals court judges.

This selection comes after three justices he picked recused themselves last month. Initially, all the sitting Tennessee Supreme Court justices recused themselves from the case.

The new members are J. Robert Carter Jr., a criminal court judge in Shelby County; James R. Dedrick, retired U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee; and Monica N. Wharton, chief legal counsel for the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

The lawsuit contends Haslam's appointment of a criminal appeals court judge last year violates the state constitution. It is on appeal after the state Court of Appeals in July reversed a portion of a lower court's ruling.

The lawsuit was brought by John Jay Hooker, a two-time Democratic Party nominee for governor.