- Associated Press - Thursday, June 5, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Two state senators say they plan an inquiry over the handling of a complaint against the chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/1pHULDB) reports Sens. Mike Bell and Randy McNally said on Tuesday that the Senate Government Operations Committee will hold a formal hearing this month into the dismissal of Bell’s ethics complaint against Chief Justice Gary Wade.

The Riceville Republican wanted Wade disciplined for allegedly violating rules about judges lobbying and endorsing candidates. Wade has denied wrongdoing, and the Board of Judicial Conduct declined to take up Bell’s complaint.

The planned hearings would come in the midst of a campaign to unseat Wade and two other justices who are up for election in August.

Bell denied any connection between the hearing and the campaign to defeat the justices.

“This is not part of the retention election campaign,” he said. “Whether it reflects negatively on the sitting Supreme Court justice or not, that will be up to the people to decide.”

The newspaper reports the composition of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission also may be discussed in the hearing. A judge in Davidson County ruled the makeup of the panel was illegal because it wasn’t diverse enough.

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Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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