United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is the United States district court for most of middle Tennessee. Based in Nashville, it was created in 1839 when Congress added a third district to the state.
The United States Attorney of the Middle District of Tennessee represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. 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 United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Vacancy warning level
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee's vacancy warning level is currently set at green. The court currently has zero vacancies out of their four posts. There are no pending appointments for the district.
There are three court divisions, each covering the following counties:
Court locations for the Middle District are located in Nashville, Cookeville and Columbia, Tennessee.
Tennessee -- along with Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan -- is located within the area covered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 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.
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.
|Federal Court Case Load 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 all judicial posts had spent vacant that year.
The Middle District of Tennessee has three separate courthouses. The Clerk's office is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m, excluding Federal holidays. Please consult the chart below for more information:
|Columbia Division||815 Garden Street
Columbia, TN 38401:
|Northeastern Division||9 E. Broad Street
Cookeville, TN 38503
|Nashville Division||801 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
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 that same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts, excluding in appeals and writs of error which are the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
The Judiciary Act of 1801 on February 13 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 a 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 3 additional judicial posts were added to the Middle District of Tennessee for a total of 4 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|
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Middle District of Tennessee.
| • Hold on arresting Occupy movement protesters in Nashville Judge(s):Aleta Trauger|
*Occupy Nashville et al v. Haslam et al 3:2011cv01037
|On October 31, 2011, U.S. District 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. 
| • Nashville school re-zoning Judge(s):William Haynes|
*Spurlock et al v. Fox et al 3:2009cv00756
|Judge Haynes on September 1, 2009, 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 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.|
| • David Givens case Judge(s):Todd Campbell|
*Givens v. Tennessee Football, Inc. 3:2009cv00888
|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 over withholding medical information from an injury he suffered during the 2006 season. The judge ruled that Givens must seek arbitration which is set in the current 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 must be used in breach of contract disputes.|
Three separate courthouses serve the Middle District of Tennessee.
For new stories and other related material see Tennessee judicial news.
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee Official Website
- Judges of the Middle District of Tennessee
- US Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Tennessee
- Opinions of the Middle District of Tennessee
- ↑ Court Clerk Information(Select the appropriate division for info and map)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 FJC History of the Middle District of Tennessee
- ↑ The City Paper, "All charges against Occupy Nashville protestors dropped," November 14, 2011
- ↑ CNN "Judge tells Tennessee to stop arresting Occupy protesters," November 1, 2011
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 "FOX 17 Nashville" NAACP Zoning Lawsuit Against Metro Schools, September 2, 2009
- ↑ The Tennesseean "Judge dismisses ex-Titan's lawsuit", February 12, 2010
|2.1 Active Judges|
|2.1.1 Article III judges|
|2.1.2 Pending appointments|
|2.1.3 Senior judges|
|2.2 Past judges|
|2.2.1 Former Chief judges|
|2.2.2 Former judges|
Since the court was established, 20 Article III judges have served on it.
Article III judgesSee: Article III federal judge
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has 4 posts and 0 vacancies. The current Chief Judge is Todd Campbell. This is a list of the current judges on the court:
|Judge Todd Campbell||1956||Rockford, IL||Clinton||12/26/1995 - Present||2005 - 8/2/2012||Thomas Wiseman||Vanderbilt U., B.A., 1978||U. 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 William Haynes||1949||Memphis, Tennessee||Clinton||11/15/1999 - Present||8/3/2012 - Present||Thomas Higgins||College of St. Thomas, B.A., 1970||Vanderbilt U. School of Law, J.D., 1973|
|Judge Kevin Hunter Sharp||1963||Memphis, TN||Obama||5/3/2011 - Present||Robert Echols||Christian Brothers College, B.S., 1990||Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D., 1993|
There are no current pending appointments for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Senior judgesSee: Federal judges on senior status
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has 2 judges on senior status currently. This is a list of the current senior judges on the court:
|Senior Judge Thomas Wiseman||Carter||8/11/1978 - 11/3/1995||1984 - 1991||11/3/1995 - Present||Vanderbilt U., B.A., 1952||Vanderbilt U. Law School, J.D., 1954|
|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|
|Magistrate Judge Juliet Griffin|
|Magistrate Judge Clifton Knowles||07/2004 - Present||Vanderbilt U., 1973||U. of Tennessee Law, J.D., 1977|
|Magistrate Judge (Recalled) Joe Brown||08/1998 - 08/2006||Vanderbilt U., 1962||Vanderbilt U. Law, J.D., 1965|
|Magistrate Judge John Bryant||08/2006 - Present||Davidson College, 1970||Vanderbilt U. Law, J.D., 1973|
Former Chief judges
|Frank Gray||1970 - 1977|
|Leland Clure Morton||1977 - 1984|
|Elmer Davies||1954 - 1957|
|William Miller||1961 - 1970|
|Robert Echols||1998 - 2005|
|John Nixon||1991 - 1998|
|Thomas Wiseman||1984 - 1991|
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. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.
These rules for Chief Judges in the federal judiciary have been in effect since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948. Until August 6, 1959, the position was filled in each federal court by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.
|Magistrate judges||Juliet Griffin • Clifton Knowles • Joe Brown • John Bryant •|
|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|