State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, the Collierville Republican who for years
has dreamed of making a race for governor and had planned to do so in 2018, will apparently trade in that dream (widely regarded as a long shot, but not an impossibility) for the reality of a federal judgeship.
He has that option, in any case, having been nominated on Thursday along with three other Tennessee lawyers to serve in the federal judiciary.
Although Norris’s chances of Senate confirmation would seem unusually good, given the Republican majority in that chamber, the legislator gave out a cautiously measured statement of acceptance to the news of his nomination:
“I am honored by the nomination and appreciate the president’s confidence in me. This is just the first step under the Constitution, and I look forward to the Senate confirmation process. In the meantime, I will continue to serve the citizens of the 32nd District who elected me to the Senate and my Senate colleagues who elected me as their leader.”
Also nominated for a federal judgeship in the state’s Western District, along with Norris, was Thomas L. Parker by Trump was Thomas Parker, a former U.S. attorney in the District and a shareholder in the Memphis office of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz,
The two current vacancies in the Western District were created by the retirement to senior status of Judges Hardy Mays and Daniel Breen.
Norris, who currently serves as special counsel in the Memphis office of Adams and Reese, had previously indicated he was serious about joining next year’S GOP gubernatorial field, but the bird-in-the-hand of a federal judgeship presumably makes the idea or a race for governor moot.
As of now, the announced Republican candidates are Randy Boyd of Knoxville and Nashville, the former state Commissioner of Economic Development; Bill Lee, a Franklin industrialist and entrepreneur; and state Senator Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet. Others said to still be pondering an entry into the race are 4th District U.S. Representative Diane Black and state House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville.
The sole declared Democratic candidate so far is former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, who began a two-day visit in Memphis on Thursday. State House Democratic Leader Craig Fitzhugh is another possible candidate.
Two other Tennesseans were appointed to federal judgeships by President Trump on Thursday. They are Chip Campbell and Eli J. Richardson of the state’s Middle District, which includes Nashville.