Janice Holder Steps in as Court's First Woman Chief

Justice Janice M. Holder, the third woman in the state's history to serve on the Supreme Court of Tennessee, became the first woman to serve as its chief justice when she was sworn into office Sept. 2 at the Supreme Court Building in Nashville.

"It's a little daunting, really, to come after people like Justice Martha Craig Daughtrey (the first female Tennessee Supreme Court justice)," Holder says. "On one hand, I realize that it has historical significance. On the other hand, I'll just be doing the job I've always done, except it will be a little harder.

"It's a very exciting time for all of us and I look forward to working with the other members of the court to advance the judicial system in Tennessee. I'm just one among equals. What we do, we do as a court, together," Holder says.

"I am grateful to my colleagues on the court for their votes of confidence and look forward to working with them as we continue our efforts to bolster the public's trust and confidence in the judiciary," Holder says. "I have the highest respect for the court's intellectual integrity, enthusiasm, work ethic, and commitment to the law and public service."

Retiring Chief Justice William M. Barker administered the oath of office to Holder, who was elected by the Court to serve a two-year term. She was appointed to the Supreme Court in December 1996 and was elected in 1998 to a full eight-year term. In 2006, she was reelected to a second eight-year term.

She will become one of 20 women chief justices nationwide, according to the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Va.
" Julie Swearingen