NASHVILLE — Voters will decide Thursday to keep or boot three Tennessee Supreme Court justices, but the drama will be far from over.

If justices Gary Wade, Connie Clark and Sharon Lee, all Democrats appointed by a Democratic governor, lose retention tonight one could argue Democrats no longer benefit from a system they jury-rigged in their favor more than 40 years ago.

Under the current system, Tennessee’s governor appoints justices for eight-year terms. Once those terms are up the justices face voters in a retention election as is happening today.