For months now state Senator Mark Norris (R-Collierville), majority leader of the Senate, has been suspended between a long-standing ambition to run for Governor and the possibility of an appointment to a federal judgeship. Norris deemed the latter prospect “an honor” when asked about it by the Flyer in February.
New reporting from various Tennessee media sources would indicate that the honor could be imminent. Both the Tennessean
of Nashville and the Chattanooga Times-Free Press
have run stories indicating that Norris has lately been the subject of the kind of FBI background check that precedes such a judicial appointment.
Two District judgeships are open, one vacated by Judge Hardy Mays, another by Judge Daniel Breen.
Appointment to one of the judgeships, besides being a career milestone in itself, would make irrelevant an existing dilemma faced by Norris in his acknowledged contemplation of a gubernatorial race.
The GOP-primary candidates already declared — former state Economic Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and Franklin businessman Bill Lee — as well as another possible entry, 4th District congresswoman Diane Black, possess sources of funding, including private wealth, that Norris would have difficulty matching. And state House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville), who would draw on some of the same legislative support as Norris, is also thinking of entering the race.
Under the circumstances, there is little doubt that Norris, trained in Constitutional law and possessor of a contemplative mind beyond his demonstrated skills as a legislator and conciliator, would accept a judicial appointment.