Bredesen prefers Supreme Court wait to appoint AG

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Governor Bredesen said today he would rather the Supreme Court wait for the fifth and final justice to be appointed to the bench before selecting a new attorney general, but he acknowledged that there was nothing he could do to stop the high court from acting sooner.

The selection of a new attorney general has already been delayed by a month because of a squabble between Bredesen and the state Judicial Selection Commission over the appointment needed to fill out the five-member Supreme Court.

Public hearings with applicants for the eight-year appointment were rescheduled for next week, and the justices haven't said when they might fill the position.

Tennessee is the only state in which the Supreme Court appoints the attorney general. Most other state attorneys general are elected or are appointed by the governor.

Bredesen earlier this month sued the commission for resubmitting a Supreme Court candidate who was on a three-person panel previously dismissed by the governor.

The four justices will have to decide who should succeed Paul Summers, who stepped down last week after extending his term by a month.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)