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Bredesen Shuns Bailey, Names Koch to High Court

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Bringing to a close a yearlong wait, during which he made clear his dissatisfaction cwth his choices, Governor Phil Bredesen finally named a fifth state Supreme Court Justice Friday, appointing state appeals court judge William C. Koch Jr. of Nashville to succeed Justice Adolpho A. Birch Jr., who retired last year. Left untapped were two other available choices, including Memphis Circuit Court Judge D’Army Bailey.

Bailey, who had lately made clear his restlessness with Bredesen’s prolonged inaction, had his name submitted on a second list of three prospects selected by the state Judicial Selection Commission after Bredesen had declined to accept the commission’s first list.

Bailey was the only black jurist and the only West Tennessean on the list of possibilities to succeed Birch, an African American. Koch’s appointment means that for the first time in roughly a generation the state’s high Court will not include an African American, and only one Justice, Janice Holder of Memphis, hails from the state’s Western grand division.

--j.b.

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