Memphis' Holder to Become Chief Justice of State Supreme Court 

State Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder of Memphis will become Chief Justice of the Court, the first woman to hold the position. According to Justice Gary R. Wade, Holder's elevation comes via a vote by her colleagues on the Court in tandem with the retirement this week of Justice William M. Barker of Chattanooga, who had been serving as Chief Justice.

Holder, who had been named to the High Court in 1996 by former Governor Don Sundquist, had previously served as a Circuit Court Judge in Division 2, civil division, of Shelby County, a position to which she was elected I 1990. Before joining the state Supreme Court, she had frequently been asked to sit in with it on an ad hoc basis and participate in its deliberations.

Here is information on the new Chief Justice from the Tennessee Blue Book and wikipedia.com: "Holder, a native of McDonald, Pennsylvania, attended Allegheny College from 1967-1968. She received a Bachelor of Science degree summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1971. In 1975 she was awarded the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the law school of Duquesne University; during her final year there she served as Recent Decisions Editor of the law review.

"After receiving her law degree, Holder served as a clerk for the Honorable Herbert P. Sorg, then Chief Judge of the federal court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She engaged in the private practice of law from 1977 to 1990, moving during this time to Memphis, Tennessee. While in Memphis she served as editor of the Memphis Bar Forum, 1987-1991; chair of the Tennessee Bar Association Commission on Women and Minorities, 1994-1996, trustee of the Tennessee Bar Foundation, 1995-1999 and its secretary from 1996-1999, and Master of the Bench of the Leo Bearman, Sr. American Inn of Court, 1995-1997, and was the recipient of numerous professional awards. She is also a founding member of the Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women."

Among the new Chief Justice's other accomplishments is the fact that she is a multiply-degreed Black Belt in karate and frequently practices this art, along with her mother, Sylvia Holder.

--Jackson Baker

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