When Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals Judge John Everett Williams, who was up for retention election this year, got his questionnaire from the Tennessee Family Action Council soliciting his views on abortion, the death penalty, same-sex marriage, evolution and other issues, he declined to respond, citing Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. as setting “the gold standard” on ethical conduct during his U.S. Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

“As did Justice Roberts, I do not wish to hint or signal that I am predisposed to rule on any matter that may come before me as a judge,” wrote Williams in June, one of 64 Tennessee judges receiving the questionnaire.