- United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
Map Appeals to Sixth Circuit Established June 18, 1839 Judges assigned 4 Chief judge Todd J. Campbell Official site
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (in case citations, M.D. Tenn.) is the federal trial court for most of Middle Tennessee. Based in Nashville, it was created in 1839 when Congress added a third district to the state. Tennessee—along with Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan -- is located within the area covered by United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and appeals are taken to that court (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
The United States District Court for the District of Tennessee was established with one judgeship on January 31, 1797, by 1 Stat. 496. The judgeship was filled by President George Washington's appointment of John McNairy. Since Congress failed to assign the district to a circuit, the court had the jurisdiction of both a district court and a circuit court. Appeals from this one district court went directly to the United States Supreme Court.
On February 13, 1801, in the famous " Midnight Judges" Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, Congress abolished the U.S. district court in Tennessee, and expanded the number of circuits to six, provided for independent circuit court judgeships, and abolished the necessity of Supreme Court Justices riding the circuits. It was this legislation which created the grandfather of the present Sixth Circuit. The act provided for a "Sixth Circuit" comprising two districts in the State of Tennessee, one district in the State of Kentucky and one district, called the Ohio District, composed of the Ohio and Indiana territories (the latter including the present State of Michigan). The new Sixth Circuit Court was to be held at "Bairdstown" in the District of Kentucky, at Knoxville in the District of East Tennessee, at Nashville in the District of West Tennessee, and at Cincinnati in the District of Ohio. Unlike the other circuits which were provided with three circuit judges, the Sixth Circuit was to have only one circuit judge with district judges from Kentucky and Tennessee comprising the rest of the court. Any two judges constituted a quorum. New circuit judgeships were to be created as district judgeships in Kentucky and Tennessee became vacant.
The repeal of this Act restored the District on March 8, 1802, 2 Stat. 132. The District was divided into the Eastern and Western Districts on April 29, 1802. On February 24, 1807, Congress again abolished the two districts and created the United States Circuit for the District of Tennessee. On March 3, 1837, Congress assigned the judicial district of Tennessee to the Eighth Circuit. On June 18, 1839, by 5 Stat. 313, Congress divided Tennessee into three districts, Eastern, Middle, and Western. Again, only one judgeship was allotted for all three districts. On July 15, 1862, Congress reassigned appellate jurisdiction to the Sixth Circuit. Finally, on June 14, 1878, Congress authorized a separate judgeship for the Western District of Tennessee, at which time President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed David M. Key as judge for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Tennessee. The first judge to serve only the Middle District of Tennessee was John J. Gore, appointed by Warren G. Harding.
Current composition of the court
- Todd J. Campbell is the current Chief Judge.
- Four Magistrate Judges serve in the District: Juliet Griffin; Joe B. Brown; E. Clifton Knowles; and John S. Bryant.
As of 2011[update], the judges on the court are:
# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by Active Chief Senior 18 Chief Judge Todd J. Campbell Nashville 1956 1995–present 2005–present — Clinton 19 District Judge Aleta Arthur Trauger Nashville 1945 1998–present — — Clinton 20 District Judge William Joseph Haynes Jr. Nashville 1949 1999–present — — Clinton 21 District Judge Kevin H. Sharp Nashville 1963 2011–present — — Obama 14 Senior District Judge Thomas Anderton Wiseman Jr. Nashville 1930 1978–2003 1984–1991 1995-present Carter 15 Senior District Judge John Trice Nixon Nashville 1933 1980–1998 1991–1998 1998-present Carter
Judge Appointed by Began active
End reason Morgan Welles Brown Andrew Jackson June 18, 1839 March 7, 1853 – death Charles Dickens Clark Grover Cleveland January 21, 1895 March 15, 1908 – death Leslie Rogers Darr Franklin D. Roosevelt June 2, 1939 November 27, 1940 – assignment to another court Elmer David Davies Franklin D. Roosevelt July 12, 1939 January 7, 1957 – death Robert L. Echols Ronald Reagan March 18, 1992 March 1, 2007 July 31, 2010 retirement John J. Gore Warren G. Harding March 2, 1923 February 21, 1939 – death Frank Gray, Jr. John F. Kennedy November 20, 1961 - Xenophon Hicks Warren G. Harding March 2, 1923 May 23, 1928 – reappointment Thomas Aquinas Higgins Ronald Reagan October 3, 1984 February 28, 1999 December 31, 2006 retirement West Hughes Humphreys Franklin Pierce March 26, 1853 June 26, 1862 – impeachment and conviction David M. Key Rutherford B. Hayes May 27, 1880 January 21, 1895 – retirement William Ernest Miller Dwight D. Eisenhower March 16, 1955 July 13, 1970 – reappointment Leland Clure Morton Richard Nixon October 14, 1970 July 31, 1984 April 11, 1998 death Edward Terry Sanford Theodore Roosevelt May 18, 1908 February 5, 1923 – reappointment Connally Findlay Trigg Abraham Lincoln July 17, 1862 April 25, 1880 – death
- Courts of Tennessee
- List of United States federal courthouses in Tennessee
- ^ a b c Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 391.
- ^ a b c d U.S. District Courts of Tennessee, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- ^ The Honorable Harry Phillips, "History of the Sixth Circuit".
- ^ Alfred Conkling, A Treatise on the Organization, Jurisdiction and Practice of the Courts of the United States (1842), p. 42.
- ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 7, 1962, and received commission on February 17, 1962.
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