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Slatery state's attorney general
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NASHVILLE (AP) — The state Supreme Court on Monday named Republican Gov. Bill Haslam’s top legal adviser, Herbert Slatery, as Tennessee’s next attorney general.The announcement came in the aftermath of a failed campaign led by Republican Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey to oust three Democratic jus-tices who make up a majority on the five-member court. That effort focused heavily on incumbent Attorney General Bob Cooper’s refusal to take part in a multistate lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s health care law.The justices did not take questions from reporters about why they decided against appointing Cooper, who had previously served as legal counsel for Haslam’s Democratic pre-decessor, Phil Bredesen.Chief Justice Sharon Lee cited what she called Slatery’s “proven leader-ship ability and sound judgment” in their unani-mous selection.“He has played an important role in drafting major legislation during the current term and has worked closely with all branches of government,” she said.Lee had touted what she called a “commitment of a transparent process” for application process for the next eight-year term as attorney general, though only the initial interviews were conducted in public.Slatery declined to say whether he would have joined the health care lawsuit.“You need to look at cost, you need to look at the issue, you need to commu-nicate well with the leaders of the state to see what their posi-tions are,” Slater said. “I’m not in a positon where I can answer as to whether I would join the Obamacare lawsuit. That’s past, we need to move on. I want to move forward, not look back.”Tennessee is the only state in the country where the high court names the attor-ney general.House Democratic leader Craig Fitzhugh criticized the justices for caving to politi-cal pressure in their decision to replace Cooper with a Republican, saying they “capitulated” to Ramsey and his allies who had tried to defeat them in the August retention elections.Fitzhugh called the jus-tices’ decision “an insult to voters who retained them.”