NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery on Monday blasted a proposed ballot initiative to require that the attorney general be confirmed by state lawmakers after the current process of selection by the state Supreme Court, saying it "would be a shame" to make the position a “political office."
The Republican praised Tennessee's unique system for supporting independence. Backers of changing it want elected lawmakers involved. Only Maine involves lawmakers in selecting the attorney general.
Slatery said the proposed constitutional amendment — requiring another two-thirds House vote for placement on the 2022 ballot — would “change everything," including allowing involvement by companies under investigation by the attorney general's office.
“Legislators will then be lobbied and the Supreme Court would have to say, 'Instead of the top lawyer, we've got to be sure, we've got to get somebody who can actually be confirmed, that the legislators will like,'" Slatery told Nashville's Rotary Club. "That just throws everything backwards, in my opinion.”
Slatery's current term expires next year before the new process would begin. It would also reduce the attorney general's term from eight to six years.
Slatery worried the change could leave the attorney general position empty for months due to when annual legislative sessions take place.