Gary R. Wade
|Gary R. Wade|
|Current Court Information:|
|Tennessee Supreme Court|
|Appointed by:||Gov. Phil Bredesen|
|Past post:||Judge, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals|
|Undergraduate:||University of Tennessee, 1970|
|Law School:||University of Tennessee College of Law, 1973|
|Candidate for:||Supreme Court|
|Election information 2014:|
- See also: Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014
- See also: Tennessee judicial elections, 2014
|Wade was retained to the Supreme Court with 56.6% of the vote on August 7, 2014.|
The state's Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission recommended Justice Wade be retained for another term.
Senate Speaker and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey lead a conservative effort to unseat the three justices up for retention in 2014: Justices Gary R. Wade, Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee. Retentions are typically a shoo-in. Only one of the state's supreme court justices has ever been voted out of office; Justice Penny White was ousted in 1996. The justices and their supporters campaigned as the group Keep Tennessee's Supreme Court Fair. All three narrowly won retention.
For a more comprehensive look at issues and news surrounding this election, see: Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014.
Wade was in private practice at Ogle & Wade, P.C. from 1973 to 1987 and was a city attorney for the City of Pigeon Forge during that same time. He served as the mayor of Sevierville from 1977 to 1987.
Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 1987, and was elected 1988. He was re-elected in 1990, 1998 and 2006. Wade served as presiding judge of the court from 1998 to 2006. He was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 1, 2006, and became chief justice in September of 2012.
Awards and associations
In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Wade received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.14, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.02 that justices received in Tennessee. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.
In the news
State senator wants to review procedures for complaints against judges
June 9, 2014: Senator Mike Bell, who chairs the government operations committee, announced at the end of May he plans to hold a hearing regarding how the state handles judicial misconduct complaints. Bell became concerned about the issue after the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct dismissed a misconduct allegation against Chief Justice Gary Wade.
The complaint was brought by Bell in November 2013. He alleged Wade violated state ethics rules for judges when he appeared to publicly endorse three state appellate court judges in 2013. Wade apparently made the statements while speaking to a reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel.
At the time Wade offered his opinions to the reporter, Andy D. Bennett, of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, and Camille McMullen and Jerry L. Smith, of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, were appearing before the Tennessee Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission and had received poor preliminary reviews from some on the panel. Judges must receive a satisfactory final report from the commission in order to run unopposed for retention. Otherwise, they must run in a contested election to retain their seat.
A November 10, 2013 story in the Knoxville News Sentinel quoted Wade as saying the three judges "deserve new terms." Wade made positive comments about all three judges to the newspaper. Smith, who had entered a guilty plea after being stopped for drunk driving, withdrew his name from consideration on November 27, and said he would not seek another term on the bench. McMullen and Bennett were recommended for retention by the commission.
According to a letter from the chairman of the board of judicial conduct, Chris Craft, to an investigative reporter for Nashville's NewsChannel 5, an "internal complaint" against justice Wade was investigated and later dismissed. Wade told the board the comments in the Sentinel article were accurate. However, the board found Wade's comments had addressed whether or not the judges should be allowed to run for retention instead of facing contested elections. The board's disciplinary counsel found Wade's comments weren't a public endorsement of any of the judges, according to Craft. Craft issued a confidential notice of dismissal to Wade, dated December 18, 2013. However, the letter also cautioned the chief justice, noting his remarks could be construed as a violation of the Tennessee Code of Judicial Conduct's ban preventing judges from expressing support or opposition for candidates running for public office.
Other senate Republicans have also expressed concern that the judicial conduct board is not thoroughly investigating complaints against judges. Tennessee's house majority leader, Gerald McCormick, also supported the senate hearing. McCormick has been critical of the recent efforts by the three justices to coordinate their campaigns to remain on the bench. "They need to be replaced," he told the TN Report. McCormick accused the justices of acting like "partisan Democrats" and criticized what he called their "aggressive" efforts to raise funds "so they can keep their jobs."
- News: Tennessee Supreme Court gets new chief justice, August 31, 2012
- Courts in Tennessee
- Judicial selection in Tennessee
- TN Courts.gov, "Justice Gary R. Wade"
- TN Courts.gov, "Tennessee Supreme Court"
- TN Courts.gov, "Tennessee Supreme Court Justices Biographies"
- The Chattanoogan, "Bredesen Appoints Gary R. Wade to Tennessee Supreme Court," June 6, 2006
- KnoxNews.com, "'Slobberknocker of debate is expected," August 19, 2011
- TN Courts.gov, "Justice Gary R. Wade," accessed June 6, 2014
- TN Courts.gov, "Justice Gary R. Wade to be Sworn as New Chief Justice on September 1, 2012," August 28, 2012
- Tennessee Secretary of State, "August 7, 2008 judicial retention results"
- TN Courts.gov, "2014 Judicial Evaluation Report," accessed May 1, 2014
- Tennessee Secretary of State, "Unofficial Election Results," August 7, 2014
- TN Courts.gov, "2014 Judicial Evaluation Report," accessed May 13, 2014
- Kingsport Times-News, "Tennessee Supreme Court justices vow to defend seats against Ramsey-led attacks," May 10, 2014
- Kingsport Times-News, "Some expect costly, divisive justice campaign in Tennessee," May 12, 2014
- Tennessee State Courts, "Gary R. Wade," accessed March 10, 2014
- Blount Today "Justice Gary Wade honored by Friends of the Smokies," February 17, 2010
- Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
- TN Report, "Senate Hearing Set to Probe 'Judicial Accountability,' Justice Wade Complaint," June 9, 2014
- TN Report, "Handling of Ethics Complaint Against TN Chief Justice May Undergo Legislative Scrutiny," May 31, 2014
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