National Campaign to Oust Tennessee Justices Fails
In a major defeat for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, voters on Thursday voted to keep all three Tennessee Supreme Court justices in retention elections.
Chief Justice Gary Wade and Justices Connie Clark and Sharon Lee all survived to win new eight-year terms on the state's highest court, maintaining a margin of about 57 percent to 43 percent. While the justices were able to overcome a vigorous opposition campaign by Ramsey and others, who accused them of being "liberal," "soft on crime" and of helping Obamacare, their retention victories were by some of the smallest margins in recent history.
"I'm very excited and I'm very proud to be a Tennessean. I think tonight, the citizens of Tennessee spoke," Clark said by phone from a victory party in Nashville. "Our judicial system has been preserved ... justice is not for sale in Tennessee."
Ramsey, who launched an expensive, vigorous campaign against the justices, issued a statement congratulating the three, saying the race raised awareness about the Supreme Court.
"For the first time in decades, we had a real election for the Supreme Court. Our Supreme Court justices traveled the state of Tennessee this summer meeting Tennesseans and learning things about our state that you can't find in any law book," his statement said. "Because of that, more Tennesseans than ever know the names of our Supreme Court justices and are aware they have a role in deciding who sits on the high court."