Ever since State Senator Brian Kelsey was a law student at Georgetown, where he found himself immersed in liberal thinking, Kelsey has embraced a conservative view of the Constitution. In particular, he believes in following that document in jurisdiction.
“I believe in following the Founding Fathers plan for how we select judges in Tennessee,” Kelsey said. “I want to use the Madisonian idea. After the 1970 election which put Republican Winfield Dunn in the governor’s office, the Democrats saw trouble. They did away with elections for state supreme court justices. They decided to follow the Missouri plan. It did away with elections for state supreme court justices. In it, lawyers on a board select three candidates and send them to the governor. This nominating committee, you don’t know who they are.” Kelsey proposed and the legislature passed the right to give Tennesseans a yes/no vote on retaining them for their eight year terms.
Then a question was asked about the state attorney general. In Tennessee, the state Supreme Court appoints him. We are the only state in the union to do this. Currently the AG is a Democrat who has refused to go along with other states in their attempts to stop Obamacare. How does Kelsey feel about this system?
He doesn’t like it. Kelsey described how an attempt to stop this was on the verge of a win a few years back. It lost by one vote. “The person really didn’t understand it and hadn’t looked into it.” Kelsey said he was very upset by that vote and is working towards another effort to change the system.
Then he did something politicians don’t usually do. He asked the audience what they thought should be done. People were silent for a minute because everyone was taken aback that he valued our opinion. One person thought it was an imperfect system but in the end should be the right of the citizens. Others expressed doubt in the ability to trust the electorate on such an important matter. Another brought up the salient point of ongoing voter fraud. It gave Kelsey a feedback politicians usually don’t seek.
As for the second amendment, another concern of Tennesseans, Kelsey has no worries about it. “The current U.S. Supreme Court is more protective of second amendment rights than any in the history of the United States.” He cited two recent rulings as proof: the District of Columbia vs. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. In the first, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home and within federal enclaves. In the second, the Supreme Court decided that Chicago could not ban guns as they had tried to do.
When the court decided to uphold Obamacare, Kelsey said he was happy that at least they had struck down the Medicaid provision to expand it in states. So for this year, Tennessee will not have to increase funds for it. The bad thing is that Haslam “said it applies only for this year.” Kelsey would like to extend that.
Kelsey is proud of three issues that Tennesseans will be able to vote on in the jumbo ballot of 2014. The first is a pro life amendment that would stop the 2000 law that gave Tennessee more liberal abortion rights than many states. The second is the vote on following the Founding Fathers’ way of selecting judges. Number three is the vote to ensconce Tennessee’s income state tax ban.