Panel will discuss how state appellate courts are selected

A distinguished panel will discuss how state appellate court judges are selected in Tennessee and how that process might be improved at a public session at Vanderbilt Law School.

The “Judicial Selection at the Crossroads: How Tennessee Picks its Judges” panel from noon to 1:30 p.m. March 21 in Flynn Auditorium in the law school is free and open to the public.

Vanderbilt Law School Professor Alistair Newbern will chair the panel, which will be moderated by Debra Erenberg of Justice at Stake, an organization working to keep courts fair and impartial. The panelists are four lawyers involved in the judicial selection debate: Margaret Behm, Charles K. Grant, Tom Lawless and state Rep. Michael G. Stewart.

The panel is part of a two-day conference, “Justice at Risk: Research Opportunities and Policy Alternatives Regarding State Judicial Selection,” focusing on how the method of selecting state judges affects judicial decision making.

“This issue is of crucial importance to the rule of law in the United States, where state judges decide the overwhelming majority of cases,” said Tracey George, who holds the Charles B. Cox III and Lucy D. Cox Family Chair in Law and Liberty at Vanderbilt Law School and organized the conference.

Sponsors of the conference are the American Constitution Society, American Judicature Society and Vanderbilt Law School. Support was provided by the law school’s Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program.