Five Prospects for Open Federal Judgeships

Consolidation of Repbublican power in Washington is likely to end gridlock and allow Trump appointees to be confirmed by Senate. Prospects for two open federal judgeships in Western District include Wiseman, Norris, Parker, Vaden, and Skrmetti.

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Possible appointees to local federal judgeships are (l o r): Lang Wiseman, Mark Norris, Tommy Parker, Stephen Vaden, and Jonathan Skrmetti.
  • Possible appointees to local federal judgeships are (l o r): Lang Wiseman, Mark Norris, Tommy Parker, Stephen Vaden, and Jonathan Skrmetti.


The ascension to the Presidency of Republican Donald Trump, coupled with the continuing GOP domination of the U.S. Senate, has loosened the gridlock that had stymied the confirmation to federal judgeships of several Obama appointees, including Ed Stanton III, the now departing U.S. Attorney for Tennessee’s Western District.

And, conversely, the new synchronization of the political climate in Washington opens the way to the appointment two new federal judges in the Western District and the likelihood of their Senate confirmation.
The names of five lawyers have predominated in discussions of potential Trump appointee for the two district judgeships — one created in 2015 when Judge Hardy Mays took senior status and another, to be vacated next month, when Judge Daniel Breen takes senior status, as well.

Those attorneys, as cited in the new issue of the Tennessee Journal, are:

● Lang Wiseman, partner in the Memphis law firm of Wiseman Bray. A former basketball star at the University of Tennessee, Wiseman is also a former chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party. Wiseman received his law degree from Harvard and clerked for 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Wellford.

● State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), a partner in the Adams and Reese law firm. Norris, who recently announced his intent to run for Governor, says he is “honored” to be mentioned for the seat.

● Tommy Parker, a litigator with Baker Donelson. He is a graduate of the Vanderbilt University law school and is a former president of the Memphis Bar Association.

● Stephen Vaden, a Union City resident and graduate of the Yale law school. Vaden has practiced law in Washington, D.C. in recent years and is reportedly under consideration for the post of general counsel at the Department of Agricuture.

● Jonathan Skrmetti, a litigator with the Butler Snow firm and president of the Memphis Federalist Society. He holds bachelor’s degrees from George Washington and Oxford Universities and earned his law degree at Harvard, where he was editor of the schools’ Journal of Law & Public Policy.

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