by Steven Ertelt
October 10, 2005
Nashville, TN (LifeNews.com) — The statewide pro-life group in Tennessee is considering weighing in on three sitting state Supreme Court justices bids to be re-elected to their posts. Tennessee Right to Life is upset about their decision to misuse a privacy clause in the state’s constitution to declare an unlimited right to abortion.
Brian Harris, president of Tennessee Right to Life, told the Knoxville News that his group "at the least will be educating our members" about the views of the judges when they come up for a vote next year.
However, whether the organization will conduct a large-scale campaign to defeat them depends on whether pro-abortion Gov. Phil Bredesen has a significant pro-life opponent.
Bredesen is also up for re-election next year. She he win and any of the pro-abortion justices be defeated, he would be able to nominate a replacement. That would just replace one pro-abortion judge with another and use up the limited financial resources of the pro-life group.
"If we’re going to have a pro-abortion governor, he would be filling any vacancies with more pro-abortion judges," Harris told the Knoxville newspaper.
The three pro-abortion judges up for a retention vote are Justices Riley Anderson, Aldolpho Birch and Janice Holder.
Tennessee voters don’t have the option of replacing one sitting Supreme Court judge with another. Instead, as in most states, voters can pick "yes" or "no" on whether to retain the justice. Most judges are retained and the governor appoints replacements for any vacancies.
Last week, William "Mickey" Barker was elevated to the Chief Justice position. He is the only one of the judges to have voted against using the state constitution to declare an unlimited abortion right. He wrote a dissenting opinion criticizing the 4-1 majority in the 2000 case, known as Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist.
Harris told the News that he is "excited" about Barker’s new position and will actively support his retention bid in 2000.