Applicants line up to fill Tennessee Supreme Court vacancy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The applicants to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court include an appeals judge who found the state's tax on illegal drugs unconstitutional.

The vacancy is being created by the Sept. 1 retirement of Tennessee Chief Justice William M. Barker.

The state's Judicial Selection Commission will conduct interviews, examine background checks of the candidates and then suggest three finalists for Gov. Phil Bredesen to choose from.

Court of Appeals Judge Sharon G. Lee is one of the applicants. Last year she wrote the opinion in a decision that the state's so called "crack tax" is unconstitutional because it seeks to generate revenue from an illegal activity.

The attorney general has appealed the case to the state Supreme Court.

Other applicants include West Tennessee Claims Commissioner Nancy Miller-Herron and four attorneys in private practice: Paul Campbell III, John Westley McClarty, R. Culver Schmid and D. Bruce Shine.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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