Wilder's Mark On History
The good and the bad of the late Lieutenant Governor John Wilder's legacy to Tennessee:
A cotton planter and lawyer by profession, John Wilder admitted in his farewell address to the Tennessee Senate in 2008 not only how much he loved the upper chamber, but that the Senate was where he believed he had made the most difference in his life. Indeed, much of Tennessee's modern road system, as well as our dramatic improvements in education over the last three decades have John Wilder largely to thank for their existence. It was one of the great ironies of his life that Wilder spent much of it as one of the last great relics of the "old Tennessee" while helping to bring the Tennessee that we know today into existence.
Wilder was often at his most partisan when attempting to advocate for so-called "non-partisanship," as was the case with his Tennessee Plan for selecting State judges. In order to keep "partisan politics" out of the judiciary, John Wilder pushed through a plan which allowed for a commission to select judges and voters to then retain the judges most never saw or knew anything about by Yes/No retention votes. This is a blatant violation of the Tennessee Constitution, which clearly calls for elected judges. The reason we still do not elect judges today-in violation of our State's supreme law-is largely because of John Wilder's original "Tennessee Plan." The selection as opposed to election of judges has led to one of the South's most liberal and arguably Democratic-partisan judiciaries, and may be the most glaring black mark on Wilder's largely stellar political legacy.
Labels: Conservatism, Democrats, Tennessee politics