Nashville, Tenn. – Justice Gary R. Wade is to be sworn in as the 29th chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1 at the Sevier County Courthouse. He will succeed Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, who has served as chief justice since Sept. 1, 2010. On Sept. 5, Governor Bill Haslam will administer the ceremonial oath to Chief Justice Wade at the Knoxville Bar Association’s annual dinner honoring the Supreme Court.
Justice Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in 2006 by Governor Phil Bredesen. Prior to his appointment, Justice Wade served on the Court of Criminal Appeals for 19 years and was elected by his colleagues to serve as Presiding Judge from 1998 to 2006. Justice Wade previously served as president of the Tennessee Judicial Conference in 1995-96 and was named Tennessee Appellate Judge of the Year in 2004. He is the founder of the Tennessee Judicial Conference Bar Foundation, an organization that provides need-based scholarships to law students at each of the state’s law schools.
Justice Wade received both his law degree and his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee. Before taking the bench, Justice Wade was in private practice for 15 years in the firm of Ogle, Wade, and Wynn. He also served as mayor of Sevierville from 1977 to 1987. He and his wife, Sandra, members of the First United Methodist Church in Sevierville, continue to live in their home county. They have three adult children and four grandchildren Justice Wade describes as “terrific.”
“During my tenure on the Supreme Court, we have been blessed with excellent leadership – Chief Justice William (Mickey) Barker, Chief Justice Janice M. Holder and, most recently, Chief Justice Cornelia A. Clark, so I have big shoes to fill,” Justice Wade said. “But, the role of chief is merely that of first among equals, and with a talented, dedicated and veteran court, now made up of former Chief Justice Holder, current Chief Justice Clark, and Justices William Koch and Sharon Lee, the future of the state judiciary is in good hands. Having spent the last 25 years of my career in the appellate system, I look forward to working more closely with the bench and bar – especially our trial, general sessions and juvenile judges, who, as ‘front-liners,’ are faced daily with the most challenging and difficult responsibilities in the judicial system.”
Justice Wade, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, co-founder of Leadership Sevier and board chair of the Knoxville Zoo in 2005-06, has previously served in a variety of capacities for non-profit organizations throughout East Tennessee.
For more information on the Tennessee Supreme Court, visit www.tncourts.gov.