- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - New Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery isn’t joining a group of Republican colleagues from other states in issuing a statement vowing “appropriate action” on President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration.

Slatery’s predecessor, Bob Cooper, was heavily criticized by some Republicans in the Legislature for refusing to join a multi-state lawsuit against Obama’s health care law. But Slatery doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to promise litigation over another presidential move that has riled up Republicans.

Slatery said in a statement that he will be giving “careful consideration to all the relevant facts” about issues of federal overreach to come to an informed decision. The Republican Attorneys General Association letter was signed by 19 current and incoming attorneys general.


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Slatery was sworn in to an eight-year term last month after being elected by the five members of the state Supreme Court. On Monday, Slatery announced he had hired Bill Young, one of his former rivals for the job, as his associated chief deputy.

Young returns to the attorney general’s office from his current role as director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. He previously worked as solicitor general for Slatery’s predecessor.



Young was seen as the attorney general candidate closest to Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who had bankrolled most of the unsuccessful effort to oust three Democratic justices in their retention elections in August. Young gave $500 to Ramsey’s political action committee, Raampac, just as the speaker was ramping up his campaign against the justices.

Young insisted before the high court vote on the new attorney general that he hadn’t known his contribution could be used to oppose the justices.

“I was pretty much told that Raampac wasn’t going to be used to do that,” Young said at the time. “If I had known that, I probably would have had second thoughts. And I think the speaker knows that.”

The Young hiring quickly set off speculation around the state Capitol that he could be groomed to once again become a leading candidate to succeed his new boss if Slatery gets nominated by Gov. Bill Haslam, his close friend and former boss, to fill any upcoming vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

Under a constitutional amendment ratified by voters this month, the Legislature now has the power to reject the governor’s nominees to the high court. That change could give Ramsey and his colleagues more leverage to promote their favored candidate for attorney general in exchange for approving Haslam’s nominee to the high court.

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