Aug 11, 2022 - Politics

Skrmetti picked for attorney general

Jonathan Skrmetti
Jonathan Skrmetti. Photo: courtesy of the Administrative Office of the Courts

The Tennessee Supreme Court picked Jonathan Skrmetti Wednesday to become the state's next attorney general.

  • Skrmetti will replace outgoing attorney general Herbert Slatery and will start his eight-year term on Sept. 1.

Why it matters: The Tennessee attorney general represents the state's interests in court.

Driving the news: Skrmetti was one of six candidates to interview with the high court this week.

  • The candidate pool included Don Cochran and David Michael Dunavant, previous U.S. attorneys who were appointed by former President Trump.

What they're saying: "Mr. Skrmetti has dedicated the majority of his career to public service and has the breadth of experience and vision necessary to lead the attorney general's office for the next eight years," Chief Justice Roger A. Page said in a statement.

  • "He is an accomplished attorney with a deep understanding of Tennessee government and our judicial system."

Between the lines: Skrmetti has served as Gov. Bill Lee's chief legal counsel since December.

  • He is the third consecutive attorney general to get the job after serving in that position a the sitting governor.

Skrmetti previously worked under Slatery as chief deputy attorney general.

The intrigue: Four of the state's five Supreme Court justices signed onto the order selecting Skrmetti.

  • Justice Sharon Lee, the lone member of the court appointed by a Democrat, dissented.

Flashback: Slatery became attorney general in 2014 and announced earlier this year he would not seek another term.

  • His time as attorney general saw him harness the power of the office to embrace conservative causes.
  • He participated in broad lawsuits targeting the Affordable Care Act and Biden administration policies.
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