Judiciary Museum Opens at Supreme Court Celebration

Original handwritten copies of the state's three constitutions were unveiled together this morning at the new Tennessee Judiciary Museum in Nashville at a celebration attended by all five members of the current Supreme Court, three former chief justices, judges, legislators and many lawyers. Former Chief Justice Robert Cooper attended with his son, Attorney General Bob Cooper, along with former chief justices Frank Drowota and Micky Barker. Chief Justice Gary Wade, Appellate Court Clerk Michael W. Catalano, and Appeals Court judges Frank G. Clement, Patricia J. Cottrell and Andy Bennett spoke to the packed courtroom. In noting that the judicial branch is not mentioned until the fifth article of the 1796 Constitution, Wade said "we're simply the referees, and we hope we get the calls right."

The event opened the museum to the public and commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Supreme Court Building with pictures of its construction (including Nashville lawyer Ward DeWitt's father who was a construction foreman on the project) and historic events that have happened there. "We have had a lot of firsts in this building," Bennett said of proceedings such as the swearing in ceremonies of the state's first woman and African American to the high court. Read Bennett's article about the building. Photos by Barry Kolar

Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Clerk of the Appellate courts Michael Catalano welcomed guests to the ceremony.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Judge Andy Bennett presented a history of the Supreme Court Building.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Judge Frank Clement is a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Chief Justice Gary Wade talked about the importance of knowing Tennessee's legal history.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Judge Patricia Cottrell about Tennessee legal history in her introduction of Judge Bennett.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Former Chief Justice Frank Drowota, TBA President Jackie Dixon and TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur were among guests.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Guests enjoy the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum.
 

Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Justice Sharon Lee visits with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Cooper.

Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Secretary of State Tre Hargett (left) visits with Herbert Slatery, counsel to Gov. Haslam, and Judge Patricia Cottrell.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Justices Janice Holder and Connie Clark visit with former Chief Justice Mickey Barker.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Justice William Koch visits with TBA President Jackie Dixon and TBA Executive Director Allan Ramsaur.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dinkins looks over the three Tennessee Constitutions on display in the museum.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Guests enjoy the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Guests enjoy the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Guests enjoy the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Guests enjoy the opening of the Tennessee Judiciary Museum.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Criminal Appeals Judge Thomas Woodall visits with former Congressman Bill Jenkins.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Justices William Koch and Connie Clark visit with guests at the opening.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Clerk of the Appellate courts Michael Catalano with Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell.
Tennessee Judiciary Museum Opening
Sevierville Judge Dwight Stokes visits with guests at the opening.