Conservative judge confirmed to Tennessee's Supreme Court

 March 12, 2024

A recent confirmation in the Tennessee Supreme Court marked the ascent of Shelby County Circuit Court Division 7 Judge Mary Wagner to the esteemed bench.

Following her appointment last month, Wagner's confirmation was solidified with resounding support in both the state House and Senate.

The decision

In the House, Wagner secured 94 affirmative votes against merely 3 oppositions. The Senate echoed unanimous consent with 32 affirmative votes endorsing her appointment, devoid of any objections.

Wagner's judicial career commenced in 2016 when she assumed the 30th Judicial District seat after being appointed by former Governor Bill Haslam.

She clinched electoral victories in 2018 and 2022, consolidating her position in the circuit court. Prior to her judicial tenure, Wagner honed her legal acumen at Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC, bringing invaluable experience to her judicial role.

Her background

Born in 1984, Wagner is an alumnus of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, graduating in 2009.

Governor Bill Lee hailed her confirmation, citing her profound understanding and reverence for the rule of law, coupled with a steadfast commitment to conservative principles of judicial restraint.

Lee expressed pride in appointing Wagner to the Tennessee Supreme Court, emphasizing her aptitude for the distinguished position.

Clear conservative majority

With Wagner's confirmation, Governor Lee has now appointed a majority of the Tennessee Supreme Court's justices, three out of five. His previous appointments include Sarah Campbell in 2022 and Dwight Tarwater in the preceding year.

Both Campbell and Wagner are aligned with the Federalist Society, a prominent conservative network instrumental in Republican judicial appointments. While Tarwater's association with the Federalist Society remains unconfirmed, he has participated in their events, contributing to the conservative legal discourse.

Wagner's credentials extend beyond her legal expertise; she previously chaired the Shelby County Republican Party from 2015 to 2016, resigning upon her appointment to the circuit court.

Her elevation to the Tennessee Supreme Court positions her alongside Chief Justice Holly Kirby and Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins, both appointed by former Governor Haslam. Notably, Wagner prevailed over competitors Ross Dyer and Camille McMullen, prominent judges from the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, securing her seat in the state's highest court.

Scheduled to assume her new role on August 31, Wagner's appointment heralds a new chapter in Tennessee's judicial landscape. With her conservative background and firm commitment to upholding the rule of law, Judge Mary Wagner is poised to contribute significantly to the leadership of the Tennessee Supreme Court.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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