|United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
|Appeals to||Sixth Circuit|
|Established||June 18, 1839|
|Chief judge||William Joseph Haynes Jr.|
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 Middle District has three divisions. (1) The Columbia Division comprises the counties of Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, and Wayne. (2) The Northeastern Division comprises the counties of Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, and White. (3) The Nashville Division comprises the counties of Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford, Stewart, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson.
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.
As of 2011[update], the judges on the court are:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|20||Chief Judge||William Joseph Haynes Jr.||Nashville||1949||1999–present||2012–present||—||Clinton|
|18||District Judge||Todd J. Campbell||Nashville||1956||1995–present||2005–2012||—||Clinton|
|19||District Judge||Aleta Arthur Trauger||Nashville||1945||1998–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
|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|
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