Greeneville attorney possible federal judge candidate

By Thomas Wilson


   Greeneville attorney and Johnson County native Ronnie Greer will not discuss any specifics about his possible consideration or selection as a federal judge with the U.S. District Court in Greeneville. However, he has acknowledged he is interested in the job if the White House called.
   "I am interested in the position and I have made Sen. (William) Frist and Senator-elect (Lamar) Alexander aware of that," said Greer on Friday.
   A graduate of Johnson County High School, Greer has practiced law in Greeneville since 1980. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee School of Law. Greer also served two terms in the state senate from 1986 to 1994 representing the 1st District.
   A U.S. District judge is directly appointed by the president, but requires confirmation from the U.S. Senate. Senators typically submit nominations for the federal judiciary to the White House for consideration.
   According to federal law outlining jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate, a potential judge must be a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state and have engaged in the active practice of law for at least five years. A potential judge must be less than 70 years old, not related to a judge of the district court and competent to perform all the duties of the office and capable of deliberation and decisiveness, according to federal law.
   Justices of the Supreme Court, judges of the courts of appeals and the district courts, and judges of the Court of International Trade, are appointed under Article III of the Constitution by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Article III judges are appointed for life, and they can only be removed through the impeachment process.
   Bankruptcy judges are judicial officers of the district courts and are appointed by the courts of appeals for 14-year terms. Magistrate judges are judicial officers of the district courts and are appointed by the judges of the district court for eight-year terms. The President and the Senate play no role in the selection of bankruptcy and magistrate judges.
   Currently, there are approximately 60 vacancies in the U.S. federal court system with 31 nominations of judicial appointments still pending for Senate confirmation, according to the Federal Judiciary.
   Judge Robert Leon Jordan announced his retirement from the U.S. District bench in November 2001. Thomas A. Varlan was nominated as his replacement in October. Judge Thomas Gray Hull announced his decision to take senior judge status in October.