Senate Passes Constitutional Amendment to Change Attorney General Selection Process


The Tennessee Senate passed a resolution to allow the General Assembly a say in the selection process for the Attorney General and Reporter for the state. If adopted, the amendment would transfer final decision-making on these two positions from the Supreme Court to the General Assembly. Under the amendment, the Supreme Court would nominate an Attorney General and Reporter. The legislature would have 60 days to vote on the nominees. If the vote doesn’t occur within 60 days, then the nominees are confirmed by default. The amendment would require a majority vote to confirm the nominees.

Additionally, the amendment would reduce the term length for both positions from eight years to six years. It also outlines that both individuals must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the United States, an attorney licensed in the State, and a resident for at least five years preceding nomination.

State Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) introduced the resolution once again last November, the day after the general election. The measure passed 25-7 with bipartisan support from Democratic State Senators Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) and Sara Kyle (D-Memphis).

Tennessee is the only state to have its Supreme Court appoint the Attorney General and Reporter. Yager asserted that this amendment would better reflect the will of the people.

“This retains an important role for the court in the selection process, while providing an oversight role to the General Assembly through the confirmation process,” said Yager. “It is consistent with the intentions of the authors of our state constitution who wanted officials directly elected by the people to have a role in the appointment.”

The State Senators to vote no were Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis), Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville), Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol), Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis), John Stevens (R-Huntington), Page Walley (R-Bolivar), and Jeff Yarbro (D-Nashville).

Under the current Tennessee Constitution, only the Supreme Court selects Tennessee’s Attorney General and Reporter.

The resolution will now appear before the House for consideration. This is the second time this resolution has made its way through the General Assembly successfully. If passed, it will appear on the ballot when Governor Bill Lee seeks re-election in November 2022.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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One Thought to “Senate Passes Constitutional Amendment to Change Attorney General Selection Process”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Six years is too long. Los can happen in six years.

    Besides, the AG should be elected directly by the voters. Force the candidates to face the public and thereby defend their records. It works in other states quite well. Refer to Texas if in doubt.