While most political watchers in Nashville are anxiously awaiting word on who will be appointed by President Barack Obama to the vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee, another group is quietly working their contacts to get a prominent Nashvillian appointed to the Tennessee Valley Authority's board of directors.
Former Tennesssee Supreme Court Chief Justice A. A. Birch's name is being pushed by some local business and political leaders as a candidate to be appointed by Obama for a vacancy on the giant utility's board.
Birch's judicial career, which spanned from 1969 until 2006, included a number of "firsts." He was the first African-American to serve as chief justice on the state's highest court, first African-American to serve in countywide office (as a General Sessions Judge in Davidson County), and the first Tennessee Supreme Court Justice to have served on every lower-level court.
In 2006, the newly constructed Davidson County courthouse that houses the criminal courts was named in his honor.
The TVA Board already contains one Nashvillian, Council Ventures Chairman and Partner Dennis Bottorff. The spot that Birch supporters are hoping to secure was previously held by Susan Richardson Williams of Knoxville.
In other presidential appointment-related news, the latest list of candidates for judicial vacancies considered to be on the short list are as follows, but please remember that this list is not "official."
Being considered for the District Court job are:
• Greg Ramos of North, Pursell Ramos & Jameson
• Bass Berry & Sims lawyers Brant Phillips and David Esquivel
• Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein's Kathryn Barnett.
For the 6th Circuit job, the list contains:
• Jane Stranch, a partner at Branstetter Stranch & Jennings
• Nashville Federal District Court Judge Joe Haynes (not the State Senator)
• Memphis Federal District Court Judge Bernice Donald
• Vanderbilt Law Professor Lisa Schultz Bressman
• Nashville attorney David Raybin of Hollins, Wagster, Weatherly & Raybin. Ramos is said be on this list as well.