The Tennessee courts administration announced on Nov. 19 that 11 individuals applied to fill the vacant seat on the Tennessee Supreme Court. The seat became vacant on Sept. 24 when former Justice Cornelia Clark passed away from cancer.
The Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments will hold a public hearing on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9 to consider the applicants. The council is expected to vote on the applicants at the close of the hearing and forward three names to Gov. Bill Lee (R) for consideration. Lee’s nominee must receive approval from both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly before taking office.
The 11 applicants are:
- William Blaylock, chief hearing officer, Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Unemployment Appeals Tribunal
- Sarah Campbell, associate solicitor general and special assistant to the attorney general, Tennessee Office of the Attorney General
- Kristi Davis, judge, Tennessee Court of Appeals
- Timothy L. Easter, judge, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
- Kelvin Jones, judge, Tennessee Twentieth Circuit Court
- William Neal McBrayer, judge, Tennessee Court of Appeals
- J. Douglas Overbey, of counsel, Owings, Wilson & Coleman
- Robert F. Parsley, member, Miller & Martin PLLC
- Jonathan T. Skrmetti, chief deputy attorney general, Tennessee Office of the Attorney General
- Gingeree Smith, attorney
- Jeffrey Usman, law professor, Belmont University College of Law
In 2021, there have been 18 supreme court vacancies in 16 of the 29 states where replacement justices are appointed instead of elected. Seventeen of the vacancies have been caused by retirements, and one vacancy was caused by a justice’s death. To date, 14 of those vacancies have been filled.