United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Federal courthouse
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is one of ninety-four United States district courts. Based in Nashville, it was created in 1839 when Congress added a third district to the state. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Cincinnati at the Potter A. Stewart Federal Courthouse and Building. Tennessee -- along with Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan -- is located within the area covered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Vacancy warning level
|Waverly D. Crenshaw Jr.||Vanderbilt University, 1978||Vanderbilt University, 1981|
Article III judges
|Judge Todd Campbell||1956||Rockford, IL||Clinton||12/26/1995 - Present||2005 - 8/2/2012||Thomas Wiseman||Vanderbilt U., B.A., 1978||University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D., 1982|
|Judge Aleta Trauger||1945||Denver, CO||Clinton||10/22/1998 - Present||John Nixon||Cornell College, B.A., 1968||Vanderbilt U., M.A.T., 1972|
|Chief judge Kevin Hunter Sharp||1963||Memphis, TN||Obama||5/3/2011-Present||10/1/2014-Present||Robert Echols||Christian Brothers College, B.S., 1990||Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D., 1993|
Active Article III judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
|Senior Judge John Nixon||Carter||5/12/1980 - 8/15/1998||1991 - 1998||8/15/1998 - Present||Harvard U., A.B., 1955||Vanderbilt U. Law School, LL.B., 1960|
|Former judge William Haynes||Clinton||11/15/1999-12/1/2014||8/3/2012-12/1/2014||12/1/2014-Present||College of St. Thomas, 1970||Vanderbilt University School of Law, 1973|
Senior judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
|Magistrate Judge Juliet Griffin|
|Magistrate Judge Clifton Knowles||07/2004 - Present||Vanderbilt U., 1973||University of Tennessee Law, J.D., 1977|
|Magistrate Judge (Recalled) Joe Brown (Tennessee federal judge)||08/1998 - 08/2006||Vanderbilt U., 1962||Vanderbilt U. Law, J.D., 1965|
|Magistrate Judge John Bryant (Tennessee)||08/2006 - Present||Davidson College, 1970||Vanderbilt U. Law, J.D., 1973|
The Middle District of Tennessee has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.
Court locations for the Middle District are located in Nashville, Cookeville, and Columbia, Tennessee.
There are three court divisions, each covering the following counties:
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases:||Median time(Criminal)**:||Median time(Civil)**:||3 Year Civil cases#:||Vacant posts:##||Trials/Post|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September. **Time in months from filing to completion.|
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts. ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Middle District of Tennessee.
| • Challenge to Tennessee's laws against recognition of same-sex marriage (2014)|
Judge(s):Aleta Trauger (Tanco, et al v. Haslam, et al, 3:13-cv-01159)
|Click for summary→|
|On March 14, 2014, Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that Tennessee must recognize the same-sex marriages of three couples who were legally married out-of-state, issuing an injunction against the state's ban on such recognition in favor of only those three couples. In the underlying case, the plaintiff couples challenged Tennessee's Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Amendment 1, a constitutional amendment approved by 81.3% of voters in 2006. The plaintiffs did not challenge the state's constitutional amendment in its totality, but rather focused on its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages legally consummated in other states. In her opinion, Judge Trauger noted that the state's anti-recognition laws failed to pass constitutional muster, writing:
| • Hold on arresting Occupy movement protesters in Nashville (2011)|
Judge(s):Aleta Trauger (Occupy Nashville et al v. Haslam et al, 3:2011cv01037)
|Click for summary→|
|On October 31, 2011, Judge Aleta Trauger issued a hold on new rules imposed by the state that were being used to arrest protesters in the "Occupy Nashville" protest. The judge's order was the response to a request by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee to block a curfew put into effect by Governor Bill Haslam the week prior. After the curfew was enacted, police used it to arrest individuals of the Occupy movement who were protesting at the Legislative Plaza in downtown Nashville. The state reportedly did not fight the order and Hedy Weinberg, executive director at the ACLU of Tennessee, responded to the order by saying, "The state conceded that the temporary restraining order should be issued and we hope that this is the first step (that) the state is recommitting itself to safeguarding -- not thwarting -- public political expression."
The temporary hold on the law remained in place for 21 days, until a hearing could be held. Prior to that hearing, Governor Haslam asked that all charges against the protestors be dropped and expunged from their records.
| • David Givens case (2010)|
Judge(s):Todd Campbell (Givens v. Tennessee Football, Inc., 3:2009cv00888)
|Click for summary→|
|On February 11, 2010, Judge Campbell dismissed a lawsuit by former Tennessee Titans football player David Givens over allegations that his former team broke his contract after withholding medical information from an injury he suffered during the 2006 season. The judge ruled that Givens must seek arbitration which was set in the collective bargaining agreement between the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association. The judge stressed in his ruling that past rulings in the Supreme Court of the United States required that the arbitration process be used in breach of contract disputes.|
| • Nashville school re-zoning (2009)|
Judge(s):William Haynes (Spurlock et al v. Fox et al, 3:2009cv00756)
|Click for summary→|
|On September 1, 2009, Judge Haynes ruled against the Nashville Metro School District's new re-zoning plan after a student and her parent sued the district. Francis Spurlock and the NAACP sued the district over sending their daughter to John Early Middle School, a school located in the suburbs that had lower test scores, in what the civil rights organization called "a calculated attempt to re-segregate the schools." As part of the ruling, Spurlock's daughter remained at Bellevue Middle School.|
The State of Tennessee was organized as a single judicial district with one judgeship on January 31, 1797. This judicial district was not yet assigned to a judicial circuit, and therefore was granted the same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts, excluding in appeals and writs of error which are the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
On February 13, 1801, the Judiciary Act of 1801 removed the district court in Tennessee and then authorized the United States Circuit Court for the Sixth Circuit to hold court in the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Western District of Tennessee. The full jurisdiction of the district and circuit courts was applied to these districts.
The Judiciary Act of 1801 was repealed on March 8, 1802, and thus restored the judicial organization that had remained in effect before 1801. This reestablished the U.S. District Court for the District of Tennessee, with circuit court trial jurisdiction.
On April 29, 1802, Statute 2 Stat. 165 divided the State of Tennessee into the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Western District of Tennessee. One judgeship was assigned to each of the districts.
The act on February 24, 1807, repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the Western District of Tennessee. The districts were assigned to the Seventh Circuit and the United States Circuit Court of the District of Tennessee was established.
Congress assigned the judicial districts of Tennessee to the Eighth Circuit on March 3, 1837. The Middle District of Tennessee was established on June 18, 1839, and the existing judgeship was made to serve all three judicial districts.
On July 15, 1862, Congress assigned the judicial districts of Tennessee to the Sixth Circuit. Over time, three additional judicial posts were added to the Middle District of Tennessee for a total of four current posts.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Middle District of Tennessee:
|June 18, 1839||5 Stat. 313||1|
|June 14, 1878||20 Stat. 132||1|
|September 14, 1922||42 Stat. 837||2|
|May 31, 1938||52 Stat. 584||2 (1 temporary)|
|February 10, 1954||68 Stat. 8, 10||2|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||2|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||3|
|December 1, 1990||104 Stat. 5089||4|
Former chief judges
In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.
For more information on the judges of the Middle District of Tennessee, see former federal judges of the Middle District of Tennessee.
Three separate courthouses serve the Middle District of Tennessee.
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Official Website
- Judges of the Middle District of Tennessee
- U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee
- Opinions of the Middle District of Tennessee
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- The Tennessean, "Tennessee lawyer wants same-sex marriage ruling to open doors," March 14, 2014
- Ballotpedia:Tennessee Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Amendment 1 (2006)
- USA Today, "Judge recognizes gay marriages of 3 Tennessee couples," March 14, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- The Tennessean, "TN attorney general to appeal same-sex marriage ruling," March 18, 2014
- Reuters, "Tennessee governor to appeal judge's gay-marriage ruling," March 18, 2014
- Nashville City Paper, "All charges against Occupy Nashville protestors dropped," November 14, 2011
- CNN, "Judge tells Tennessee to stop arresting Occupy protesters," November 1, 2011
- The Tennessean, "Judge dismisses ex-Titan's lawsuit," February 12, 2010
- FOX 17 Nashville, "NAACP Zoning Lawsuit Against Metro Schools," September 2, 2009 (dead link)
- History of the Middle District of Tennessee on the Federal Judicial Center website
- United States Courts, Frequently Asked Questions
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
|Magistrate judges||Juliet Griffin • Clifton Knowles • Joe Brown (Tennessee federal judge) • John Bryant (Tennessee) •|
|Former Article III judges||
Robert Echols • Morgan Welles Brown • West Hughes Humphreys • Connally Findlay Trigg • William Miller • David McKendree Key • Charles Dickens Clark • Edward Terry Sanford • John Gore • Xenophon Hicks • Leslie Darr • Elmer Davies • Leland Clure Morton • Thomas Higgins • Frank Gray •
|Former Chief judges|