Governor Bill Haslam on Friday appointed a special Supreme Court to hear a case from which all five Tennessee Supreme Court justices have recused themselves.
The special appointees are a group of highly qualified and diverse legal minds representing the three grand divisions of the state. They come from all practice areas and have more than a century of experience. The governor’s appointees are:
William M. Barker, who is currently Of Counsel at Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C. in Chattanooga. Mr. Barker retired from the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2008 after a decade of service, three as Chief Justice. He began his service as a judge in 1983 when he was appointed Judge of the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial District. He received his bachelor of science from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and his law degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Andree Sophia Blumstein, who is a member at Sherrard & Roe, PLC in Nashville. She has extensive experience in civil appellate litigation and recently received the Tennessee Bar Association’s Joseph W. Henry Award for Outstanding Legal Writing. Ms. Blumstein graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law, and she holds a Ph.D. in Germanic languages and literature from Yale University.
George H. Brown Jr., who specializes in mediation and arbitration with Resolute Systems, LLC in Memphis. Mr. Brown retired in 2005 after serving 23 years as Circuit Court Judge of the 13th Judicial District. He served on the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1980. He received his bachelor’s from Florida A&M University and his law degree from Howard University School of Law.
Robert L. Echols, who is a member at Bass, Berry & Sims in Nashville. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Echols served as Judge of the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee for 18 years and as Chief Judge for seven of those years. He began his legal career as a law clerk for Chief U.S. District Judge Marion S. Boyd in Memphis. He received his bachelor of arts from Rhodes College and his law degree from the University of Tennessee.
W. Morris Kizer, who has practiced law for more than 35 years, most recently with Gentry, Tipton & McClemore, PC in Knoxville. Mr. Kizer also served as law director for the City of Knoxville from 2004 until 2008. He received his bachelor of arts from Vanderbilt University and law degree from the University of Tennessee College Of Law.
The special Supreme Court will decide any appeal of Hooker et al. vs. Haslam et al., a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a Court of Criminal Appeals appointment by the governor.