Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | September 16, 2014

Tennessee’s New Attorney General

The Tennessee Supreme Court appointed a new state attorney general on Monday:

The Tennessee Supreme Court has selected Herbert Slatery III to serve as the state’s next attorney general.

Slatery is a member of Gov. Haslam’s cabinet, serving as his counsel since 2011. He is responsible for coordinating the legal affairs of the Executive Branch for the Governor and advising the Governor on legal and other matters on a day-to-day basis.

Before that, Slatery was in private practice in Knoxville with Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, P.C. for 30 years. He’s also a previous Chairman, Director and General Counsel of the Public Building Authority of Knox County and Knoxville.

He’s a Knoxville native and earned his law degree at UT.

I think that Slatery will make a good AG. Still, it is a little grating to see Ron Ramsey and his confreres seemingly claim a victory, even after they failed in their attempt to unseat three Democrat-appointed justices of the state Supreme Court.
This is how The Tennessean covered the appointment:

The court’s selection of Herbert Slatery III, the governor’s chief legal counsel, to replace Democratic Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. essentially handed a victory to Republicans who tried to accomplish the same mission by defeating three of the justices at the ballot box in retention elections last month.

And here is Ramsey’s statement:

As the first Republican attorney general in Tennessee history, Herbert Slatery will be a strong advocate for the people of Tennessee and a vigilant defender of Tennessee’s conservative reforms. Herbert has served our governor well as chief counsel and I have no doubt that his strong work will continue as he gains over six million new clients across the state of Tennessee. I look forward to working with him to defend our conservative reforms and the legal interests of all Tennesseans.

(Point of order: Slatery is not the first Republican AG in Tennessee history — just the first since the end of Reconstruction. Maybe’s Ramsey’s history doesn’t go that far back? Maybe he has a mental block around the entire decade of Reconstruction?)

Democrat Craig Fitzhugh, Minority Leader of the House in the General Assembly, spake thusly:

First, I want to congratulate Herb Slatery on being selected as attorney general. I have worked with Herb for many years and wish him success in this new endeavor.

Today, however, I am disappointed that our Supreme Court has capitulated to Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and the very special interest groups that tried to replace our Justices just one short month ago.

For more reactions and quotes, see here.

Slatery is 62. His appointment is effective immediately.

I note that his undergraduate degree is from UVA and his law degree from UT. So, he may be in for a rough football season.


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