United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee: Wikis


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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
(E.D. Tenn.)
The four divisions of E.D. Tenn., with courthouse locations
The four divisions of E.D. Tenn., with courthouse locations
Appeals to Sixth Circuit
Established April 29, 1802
Judges assigned 5
Chief judge Curtis Lynn Collier
Official site

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee (in case citations, E.D. Tenn.) is the federal court in the Sixth Circuit whose jurisdiction covers all of East Tennessee and a portion of Middle Tennessee. The court comprises 4 divisions. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, it maintains branch facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Greeneville, Tennessee; and Winchester, Tennessee.

  • The Southern Division, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, serves Bledsoe, Bradley, Hamilton, McMinn, Marion, Meigs, Polk, Rhea and Sequatchie counties.
  • The Northeastern Division, based in Greeneville, Tennessee, serves Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington
  • The Northern Division, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, serves Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union counties.
  • The Winchester Division serves Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Moore, Warren and Van Buren counties.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court.

The court was established by the Judiciary Act of 1801 ("Midnight Judges" Act) wherein Congress created a new Sixth Circuit with two districts in the Tennessee. Since 1797, the state had been organized by Congress into one judicial district with one judge, John McNairy.

Tennessee—along with Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan -- is located within the area covered by United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and appeals are taken to that court (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).



The United States District Court for the District of Tennessee was established with one judgeship on January 31, 1797, by 1 Stat. 496.[1][2] The judgeship was filled by President George Washington's appointment of John McNairy. Since Congress failed to assign the district to a circuit, the court had the jurisdiction of both a district court and a circuit court. Appeals from this one district court went directly to the United States Supreme Court.

On February 13, 1801, in the famous " Midnight Judges" Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, Congress abolished the U.S. district court in Tennessee,[2] and expanded the number of circuits to six, provided for independent circuit court judgeships, and abolished the necessity of Supreme Court Justices riding the circuits. It was this legislation which created the grandfather of the present Sixth Circuit. The act provided for a "Sixth Circuit" comprising two districts in the State of Tennessee, one district in the State of Kentucky and one district, called the Ohio District, composed of the Ohio and Indiana territories (the latter including the present State of Michigan). The new Sixth Circuit Court was to be held at "Bairdstown" in the District of Kentucky, at Knoxville in the District of East Tennessee, at Nashville in the District of West Tennessee, and at Cincinnati in the District of Ohio. Unlike the other circuits which were provided with three circuit judges, the Sixth Circuit was to have only one circuit judge with district judges from Kentucky and Tennessee comprising the rest of the court. Any two judges constituted a quorum. New circuit judgeships were to be created as district judgeships in Kentucky and Tennessee became vacant.[3]

The repeal of this Act restored the District on March 8, 1802, 2 Stat. 132.[2] The District was divided into the Eastern and Western Districts on April 29, 1802.[1] On February 24, 1807, Congress again abolished the two districts and created the United States Circuit for the District of Tennessee. On March 3, 1837, Congress assigned the judicial district of Tennessee to the Eighth Circuit. On June 18, 1839, by 5 Stat. 313, Congress divided Tennessee into three districts, Eastern, Middle, and Western.[1][4][2] Again, only one judgeship was allotted for all three districts. On July 15, 1862, Congress reassigned appellate jurisdiction to the Sixth Circuit. Finally, on June 14, 1878, Congress authorized a separate judgeship for the Western District of Tennessee, at which time President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed David M. Key as judge for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Tennessee. The first judge to serve only the Eastern District of Tennessee was Robert Love Taylor, appointed by Harry S. Truman.


The current Chief Judge is Curtis L. Collier. The Court is also served by five Magistrate Judges, H. Bruce Guyton, Dennis H. Inman, Susan K. Lee, and C. Clifford Shirley.

Judge Appointed by Began active
Ended active
Ended senior
End reason
Morgan Welles Brown Andrew Jackson 01834-01-03 January 3, 1834 01853-03-07 March 7, 1853 death
Charles Dickens Clark Grover Cleveland 01895-01-21 January 21, 1895 01908-03-15 March 15, 1908 death
Curtis Lynn Collier Bill Clinton 01995-05-10 May 10, 1995 Incumbent
Leslie Rogers Darr Franklin D. Roosevelt 01939-06-02 June 2, 1939 01961-03-15 March 15, 1961 01967-05-29 May 29, 1967 death
Robert Allan Edgar Ronald Reagan 01985-04-16 April 16, 1985 02005-10-07 October 7, 2005 Incumbent
J. Ronnie Greer George W. Bush 02003-06-12 June 12, 2003 Incumbent
Xenophon Hicks Warren G. Harding 01923-03-02 March 2, 1923 01928-05-23 May 23, 1928 reappointment
Thomas Gray Hull Ronald Reagan 01983-11-14 November 14, 1983 02002-10-01 October 1, 2002 02008-07-29 July 29, 2008 death
West Hughes Humphreys Franklin Pierce 01853-03-26 March 26, 1853 01862-06-26 June 26, 1862 impeachment and conviction
James Howard Jarvis II Ronald Reagan 01984-10-12 October 12, 1984 02002-02-28 February 28, 2002 02007-06-06 June 6, 2007 death
Robert Leon Jordan Ronald Reagan 01988-10-17 October 17, 1988 02001-11-30 November 30, 2001 Incumbent
David M. Key Rutherford B. Hayes 01880-05-27 May 27, 1880 01895-01-21 January 21, 1895 retirement
Harry Sandlin Mattice Jr. George W. Bush 02005-11-18 November 18, 2005 Incumbent
John McNairy George Washington 01802-04-29 April 29, 1802 01833-09-01 September 1, 1833 resignation
Herbert Theodore Milburn Ronald Reagan 01983-06-07 June 7, 1983 01984-10-09 October 9, 1984 reappointment
Charles Gelbert Neese John F. Kennedy 01961-11-20 November 20, 1961[5] 01982-08-31 August 31, 1982 01989-10-22 October 22, 1989 death
Thomas W. Phillips George W. Bush 02002-11-15 November 15, 2002 Incumbent
Edward Terry Sanford Theodore Roosevelt 01908-05-18 May 18, 1908 01923-02-05 February 5, 1923 reappointment
George Caldwell Taylor Calvin Coolidge 01928-05-26 May 26, 1928 01949-11-24 November 24, 1949 01952-12-19 December 19, 1952 death
Robert Love Taylor Harry S. Truman 01949-11-02 November 2, 1949[6] 01984-01-15 January 15, 1984 01987-07-11 July 11, 1987 death
Connally Findlay Trigg Abraham Lincoln 01862-07-17 July 17, 1862 01880-04-25 April 25, 1880 death
Thomas A. Varlan George W. Bush 02003-03-14 March 14, 2003 Incumbent
Frank Wiley Wilson John F. Kennedy 01961-06-15 June 15, 1961 01982-09-29 September 29, 1982 death


  1. ^ a b c Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 391.
  2. ^ a b c d U.S. District Courts of Tennessee, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  3. ^ The Honorable Harry Phillips, "History of the Sixth Circuit".
  4. ^ Alfred Conkling, A Treatise on the Organization, Jurisdiction and Practice of the Courts of the United States (1842), p. 42.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 7, 1962, and received commission on February 17, 1962.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1950, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 8, 1950, and received commission on March 9, 1950.

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