Political Activist John Jay Hooker Passes Away

Well-known Nashville attorney and activist John Jay Hooker has died.

The 84-year-old has battled metastatic melanoma for several months.

Hooker was born in Wilson County and graduated from Vanderbilt University before becoming an established attorney.

Hooker took up a number of fights as an activist in Tennessee.In the early 60’s, Hooker served as special assistant to Robert Kennedy.

Most recently, he filed a lawsuit challenging the Tennessee state law that makes it a felony to assist in suicide.

Davidson County Chancellor Carol McCoy dismissed the suit, claiming Hooker did not have legal standing to bring the action.

“They’ve got no right to tell me that, in my pursuit of my own peace and happiness, I can’t take my own life,” Hooker said after the ruling.

After his death, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party Mary Mancini said “He believed strongly that people should, especially when they are so gravely ill, that they should be able to choose the time of their passing.”

In November, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied a request by Hooker, who wanted to take his right-to-die case directly to justices.

Hooker is survived by three children and his wife.

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