Speeches & Floor Statements

Floor Remarks of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on "The Nomination of Tom Anderson to be U.S. District Judge"

Posted on April 10, 2008

I rise to thank and congratulate President Bush and to thank Chairman Leahy and Senator Specter for bringing to the Senate floor the nomination of Tom Anderson to be a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Tennessee. I would offer three reasons why Judge Anderson's nomination to serve as a U.S. district judge for the Western District of Tennessee is an especially worthy one and one that I hope today will receive approval by the entire Senate. First, Tom Anderson is already a judge. In 2003, the Federal district judges of the Western District of Tennessee selected Tom Anderson unanimously as a U.S. magistrate judge following a merit process that included more than three dozen applicants. I see the chairman of the Judiciary Committee has arrived. I would say to Senator Leahy, I am in the midst of about a 3- or 4-minute talk about the judicial nominee from Tennessee. Mr. LEAHY. Go right ahead. Mr. ANDERSON. As I said before he came, I greatly appreciate the fact that Chairman Leahy and Senator Specter held a hearing which included Tom Anderson, and that the Judiciary Committee sent his nomination to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. As I was saying, the first reason to support him is that he is already a judge. In 2003, the Federal district judges of western Tennessee selected Tom Anderson unanimously as a U.S. magistrate judge following a merit process that included more than three dozen applicants. Second, Tom Anderson has been first chair on more than 200 cases tried in Federal court and has earned extraordinary respect from lawyers and judges in Tennessee. For example, senior district judge Tom Higgins drove more than 100 miles from Nashville to Tom Anderson's investiture ceremony as a magistrate judge in Jackson in 2003 to commend Anderson's practice as an attorney. Judge Higgins’ unsolicited appearance for Judge Anderson was considered by all those in attendance as a great compliment to Tom Anderson's professionalism. I know Judge Higgins very well, as do other members of the bar in Tennessee. If he had thought Tom Anderson would have been a bad judge and had been a less than professional lawyer, Judge Higgins would have driven 200 miles from Nashville to make a speech in the other direction. So it was an enormous compliment to Tom Anderson that Judge Higgins would have driven to Jackson and made such a speech. So impressed was I with that speech of Judge Higgins that I am submitting a transcript of Judge Higgins' remarks from that ceremony on January 16, 2004. I ask unanimous consent that it be included in the Record following my remarks. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. (See exhibit 1.) Mr. ALEXANDER. Prior to serving on the bench, Tom Anderson spent nearly 20 years in private practice. In addition to his extensive litigation experience, he also served as an administrative law judge for the Tennessee Claims Commission and as an assistant commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Finally, although Judge Anderson has been nominated by a Republican President, he has strong support also from Tennessee Democrats. A number of west Tennessee Democrats wrote to the Judiciary Committee to urge confirmation of Judge Anderson, including State Senator Roy Herron; Charles Farmer, the former mayor of Jackson; James Strickland, Jr., the former chairman of the Memphis/Shelby County Democratic Party; Tommy Green, the chairman of the Tennessee Municipal League; and Mike McWherter, a prominent local businessman and son of former Democratic Gov. Ned McWherter. It is worth noting that Mike McWherter, who lives in Jackson, also had formed an exploratory committee to challenge me in this year's race in the Senate before deciding to spend more time with his family. So Judge Anderson's nomination is one issue that would have united both parties' candidates on the campaign trial if Mike McWherter had decided to be a candidate for the Senate. This deep reservoir of good will for Judge Anderson in Tennessee reflects the fact that he is experienced, fairminded, and well respected. He is also a husband and father of three who has been active in the community, including having served as a board member of the Methodist Hospital in Lexington and the Carl Perkins Child Abuse Center in Jackson, as well as helping to establish the Beech River Branch of the YMCA in Lexington and serving as its first chairman of the board. Again, I congratulate the President, and I thank Chairman Leahy and Senator Specter and the full Judiciary Committee for reporting this nomination to the floor and setting it for a vote this afternoon. I hope the entire Senate will agree with their judgment and confirm him before Chief Judge James Todd, who has served with distinction in this position, takes senior status. I yield the floor.