Justice Birch resigned yesterday; the effective date of the resignation is August 31, 2006.
Justice Birch has served the State of Tennessee as a judge for 43 years, beginning as a General Sessions Judge, then serving 9 years as a trial judge and 19 years as an appellate judge. [Bio] His service on the Tennessee Supreme Court will be best remembered for his insistence that citizens accused of crimes receive a fair shake in the criminal justice system and his steady opposition to imposition of the death penalty given the current circumstances that give rise to its imposition. He is a man of courage and conviction. His leadership will be missed.
This resignation follows that of Justice Anderson earlier this week.
We now have two openings on our five member court. The Governor will be able to select two judges from panels provided to him by the Judicial Selection Commission. Under our rules, no more than two judges can come from any one Grand Division. Chief Justice Barker is an East Tennessean, Justice Holder is a West Tennessean, and Justice Clark is a Middle Tennessean. Therefore, one of the appointees can come from any Grand Division but both cannot come from the same Grand Division.
This should be interesting.