Tennessee’s first woman to serve as chief justice on the state’s Supreme Court will not seek another term and will instead retire in 2014, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Justice Janice Holder served 17 years on the state’s high court, two of those years as chief justice (2008-10). She informed Gov. Bill Haslam Wednesday of her eventual retirement.
“It has been my privilege to serve the people of Tennessee as a trial judge and Supreme Court justice — and an honor to have been selected by my fellow justices as the first female chief justice in our state’s history,” Holder said.
The last exit from the state Supreme Court was in 2008 when Chief Justice William M. Barker retired.
“While Janice Holder will always be remembered as the first woman in history to serve as chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, she has also been a courageous champion of the rights of all women, a compassionate leader in the Access to Justice initiative, a staunch proponent of the lawyers’ assistance program, and a dedicated servant to the people of this state,” said current Chief Justice Gary Wade.
As Holder has informed the governor’s office of her planned retirement, it’s a decision that will leave a spot on the state’s highest court in question as the committee assigned to recommend replacements to the governor prepares to fold by June 30.
Currently, the governor is to appoint one of three individuals the Judicial Nominating Commission suggests, and the individual is to serve out an eight-year term before facing yes-no retention elections.
Voters will be asked to weigh in at the November 2014 election if they’d rather the governor appoint judges and the legislature confirm them prior to retention elections.