Andree S. Blumstein 81 appointed to special state Supreme Court judicial panel

Jul 31, 2012

Andrée S. Blumstein ’81 is one of five attorneys appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam to a special state Supreme Court to address a case from which all five Tennessee Supreme Court justices have recused themselves.

The judicial panel to which Blumstein was appointed will decide any appeal of Hooker et al. vs. Haslam et al., a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Tennessee’s judicial selection statute and a Court of Criminal Appeals appointment by the governor.

Blumstein is a partner at Sherrard & Roe in Nashville who has extensive experience in civil appellate litigation. She recently received the Tennessee Bar Association’s Joseph W. Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing. In addition to her law degree from Vanderbilt, where she served as research editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and was elected Order of the Coif, Blumstein holds a Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literature from Yale. She earned her undergraduate degree magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Vassar College.

Other members of the panel include former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William M. Barker of Chattanooga; retired Tennessee Circuit Court Judge George H. Brown Jr. of Memphis; Bass Berry & Sims partner Robert L. Echols, who served for 18 years as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee; and Knoxville attorney W. Morris Kizer, who earned his undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney John Jay Hooker ’57 in February 2012, contends, among other things, that Governor Haslam’s appointment of Jeff Bivens ’86 to the Court of Criminal Appeals in 2011 violates the state constitution. In June, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden ’64 dismissed the part of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Tennessee retention election statues, but held that intermediate appellate judges are subject to retention election only by the voters of the grand division in which they reside. On July 27, the Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the Tennessee judicial selection statutes are constitutional but reversed the remainder of the trial court’s ruling, finding that intermediate appellate judges are subject to state-wide retention election.

In appealing the dismissal, Hooker also filed motions calling on judges on Tennessee’s Court of Appeals and justices on the state’s Supreme Court to recuse themselves, asserting that all have a conflict of interest because they received their judicial appointments through the existing judicial selection system. Eleven of Tennessee’s 12 Court of Appeals judges and all five of Tennessee’s Supreme Court justices subsequently recused themselves from hearing the case.

Andrée Blumstein is the wife of James F. Blumstein, University Professor of Constitutional Law and Health Law and Policy at Vanderbilt University.

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