The Look in Brief

Tennessee Attorney General Slatery won’t seek a second term

By: - May 11, 2022 3:39 pm
Attorney General Herbert Slatery at the 100th anniversary of the Tennessee Farm Bureau in Jan. 2021. (Photo: Tennessee Attorney General's office)

Attorney General Herbert Slatery at the 100th anniversary of the Tennessee Farm Bureau in Jan. 2021. (Photo: Tennessee Attorney General’s office)

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery will not seek a second term when his current one ends.

The news, first reported by the Tennessee Journal, broke Tuesday after Slatery informed the Tennessee Supreme Court in a letter.

Slatery’s eight-year term has been marked by his office’s involvement in political issues, notably the joining of an amicus brief supporting a challenge by Texas to to the 2020 presidential election results and a 2021 challenge to the Biden Administration’s order for COVID-19 vaccine requirements in private businesses.

But Slatery has also led litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors and received the Kelley-Wyman Award, presented by the National Association of Attorneys General to the AG who has done the most to advance the objectives of the association.

Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville, responded to the news Wednesday in a statement.

“During General Slatery’s tenure, the role became more overtly political and more overtly partisan. He wasn’t just a Republican who was appointed Attorney General, but rather a Republican Attorney General. In some ways, it’s hard to compare his performance to past attorneys general, because he clearly conceived of the job so differently than his predecessors,” said Yarbro, who is an attorney.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery. (Photo: Tennessee Attorney General)
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery. (Photo: Tennessee Attorney General)

“The Office pulled back on its historic role of counseling the legislature about the risks of enacting unconstitutional laws and pushed forward into joining ideological lawsuits across the country.

“The next Attorney General will face a big choice whether to go further down the partisan path or veer toward the more institutional role as the chief lawyer whose client is every Tennessee citizen.”

Slatery served as legal counsel to former Gov. Bill Haslam prior to the Tennessee Supreme Court appointing him to role as chief law enforcement officer for the state in October 2014.

Tennessee is the only state in which the attorney general is an officer of the judicial branch, being appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court, rather than the executive branch.


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Holly McCall
Holly McCall

Holly McCall has been a fixture in Tennessee media and politics for decades. She covered city hall for papers in Columbus, Ohio and Joplin, Missouri before returning to Tennessee with the Nashville Business Journal. She has served as political analyst for WZTV Fox 17 and provided communications consulting for political campaigns at all levels, from city council to presidential. Holly brings a deep wealth of knowledge about Tennessee’s political processes and players and likes nothing better than getting into the weeds of how political deals are made.