Gary R. Wade

From Ballotpedia
(Redirected from Gary Wade)
Jump to: navigation, search
Gary R. Wade
Court Information:
Tennessee Supreme Court
Title:   Justice
Salary:  $177,000
Appointed by:   Gov. Phil Bredesen
Active:   2006-2022
Chief:   2012-2014
Past post:   Judge, Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals
Past term:   1987-2006
Personal History
Born:   5/31/1948
Undergraduate:   University of Tennessee, 1970
Law School:   University of Tennessee College of Law, 1973
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Supreme Court
Position:  Retention
State:  Tennessee
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Election date:  8/7/2014
Election vote:  56.6%ApprovedA

Gary R. Wade is a justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court on May 30, 2006, by former Governor Phil Bredesen and assumed office on September 1, 2006.[1]

Wade became chief justice on September 1, 2012. He was replaced as chief justice by Justice Sharon Lee after his two-year term ended on August 31, 2014.[2]

Wade was retained by Tennessee's voters to an unexpired term on the court on August 7, 2008. He was then retained in 2014 for a term that expires in 2022.[3]



See also: Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014
See also: Tennessee judicial elections, 2014
Wade was retained to the Tennessee Supreme Court with 56.6 percent of the vote on August 7, 2014.[4][5]

The state's Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission recommended Justice Wade be retained for another term.[6]


Senate Speaker and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey lead a conservative effort to unseat the three justices up for retention in 2014: Justices Gary R. Wade, Cornelia Clark and Sharon Lee. Retentions are typically a shoo-in. Only one of the state's supreme court justices has ever been voted out of office; Justice Penny White was ousted in 1996. The justices and their supporters campaigned as the group Keep Tennessee's Supreme Court Fair. All three narrowly won retention.[7][8]

For a more comprehensive look at issues and news surrounding this election, see: Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014.


Wade received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee in 1970 and his J.D. degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1973.[1]


Wade was in private practice at Ogle & Wade, P.C. from 1973 to 1987 and was a city attorney for the City of Pigeon Forge during that same time. He served as the mayor of Sevierville from 1977 to 1987.[9]

Wade was appointed to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in 1987, and was elected 1988. He was re-elected in 1990, 1998 and 2006. Wade served as presiding judge of the court from 1998 to 2006. He was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court in September 1, 2006.[1]

Awards and associations


  • 2014: The Frank F. Drowota III Outstanding Judicial Service Award, Tennessee Bar Association[10]
  • 2014: Appellate Judge of the Year, Southeastern Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (SEABOTA)[11]
  • 2011: Scouts of America Great Smoky Mountain Council Good Scout Award
  • 2010: Recipient of the Legacy Award from Friends of the Smokies[12]
  • 2009: Lincoln Memorial University Commencement, Keynote Speaker
  • 2007-2008: Power100, Business TN
  • 2007: Raymond L. Gardner Alumnus of the Year, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
  • 2007: United States Department of Interior Citizens Award for Exceptional Service
  • 2006: East Tennessee Regional Leadership Award
  • 2006: University of Tennessee College of Law Commencement, Keynote Speaker
  • 2005, 2008: American Legion Boys State, Keynote Speaker
  • 2005: Garden Club of America Conservation Award
  • 2004: Appellate Judge of the Year, American Board of Trial Advocates
  • 2004: Judicial Excellence Award, Knoxville Bar Association[1]
  • 2004: Citizen of the Year, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce
  • 2004: Sevier County High School Wall of Fame
  • 2001: Thornton Athletic Student Life Center Award, University of Tennessee
  • 2000: Walters State Community College Commencement, Keynote Speaker
  • 1999: Lions Club International Melvin Jones Fellow
  • 1997-Present: United Way Leadership Society
  • 1996: Pellissippi State Technical Community College Commencement, Keynote Speaker
  • 1996: Superintendent's MVP - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • 1987: Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Award
  • 1987: Gary R. Wade Boulevard
  • 1987: Key to City Award by City of Sevierville
  • 1987: American Heart Association Presidential Award
  • 1983, 84, 85, 97: Sevier County Mover and Shaker of the Year by The Mountain Press
  • 1980: Outstanding Young Men of America, Who's Who in American Law


  • 1995-1996: Delegate
  • Member, Tennessee Bar Association
  • 1980-1988: House of Delegates
  • 1995-1996: Board of Governors
  • 2008-Present: Fellow, Young Lawyers Division
  • Member, Knoxville Bar Association
  • 2004 Board of Governors
  • Member, Sevier County Bar Association
  • 1988-Present: Member, American Inns of Court
  • 2009-Present: Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • 2008-Present: Fellow, Knoxville Bar Foundation
  • 2006-Present: Phi Delta Theta Educational Foundation
  • 1998-Present: Tennessee Bar Association Fellow, Young Lawyers Division
  • Walters State Community College Foundation
  • 2005-2006: President
  • 1998-Present: Board of Trustees
  • 1996-Present: Founder and secretary, Tennessee Judicial Conference Foundation
  • 1996-Present: Member, Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society
  • 1994-Present: Fellow, Tennessee Bar Foundation
  • 1994-Present: Dean's Circle, University of Tennessee
  • 1993-Present: Board of Visitors, University of Tennessee
  • 1993-Present: Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, co-founder, past president, and president emeritus
  • 1987-Present: Tennessee Judicial Conference; President, 1995-1996
  • 1998-2006: Member, Council of Chief Judges
  • 2004-2005: Member, Governor's Task Force on Sentencing
  • 2003-2005: Maryville College Board of Trustees; Finance Committee, 2004-2005
  • 1998-2005: UT Development Council
  • 1997-2002: Pellissippi State Technical Community College, President's Associates
  • 1990-1997: Eta South Province President, Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
  • 1996: Member, Special Joint Committee (Senate Joint Resolution 477) on Special and Pro Tempore Judges
  • 1995-1996: Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors
  • 1995-1996: Leadership Knoxville Class
  • 1993-1996: Member, Commission on Future of the Tennessee Judicial System
  • 1990-1994: Member, Tennessee Sentencing Commission
  • 1980-1988: Tennessee Bar Association House of Delegates
  • 1985-1987: Member, Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund, Board of Directors and Treasurer
  • 1983-1987: Member, Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association
  • 1983-1987: Member, National Association of Municipal Law Officers
  • 1973-1987: Member, Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association
  • 1973-1984: Member, Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Board of Directors, 1978-1984[1][9]

Community Involvement

  • 1972: Sevierville Lions Club, Past President
  • 1972-1987: Sevier County Volunteer Legal Assistance Program
  • 1977-1979: Sevierville Community Center Capital Campaign, Chair
  • 1984, 1985, 1986: Sevier County Heart Association, Chairman
  • 1984-1986, 2004-2006: Sevier County United Way, Board of Directors
  • 1986-1987: East Tennessee Chapter of American Heart Association, Vice President
  • 1989-1994: First United Methodist Church of Sevierville, Finance Chair
  • 1996-2000: First United Methodist Church Conference, Finance Chair, Maryville District
  • Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • 1993-2005: Co-Founder and President
  • 2005-2006: Board Chair
  • 2007-Present: Chairman Emeritus
  • 1996-2002: East Tennessee Foundation Board of Directors
  • 1996: Honorary Chair, Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains Capital Campaign
  • 1997-1998: Board of Directors, YMCA Metropolitan Knoxville
  • 1997-2004: Board of Directors, AAA East Tennessee
  • 1997: Board of Directors, United Way of Greater Knoxville Campaign Cabinet
  • 1997-2008: Board of Directors, Tennessee's Resource Valley
  • 1998-2000, 2006-Present: East Tennessee Historical Society Board of Directors
  • 1998-Present: Sevier County High School Foundation Board of Directors
  • Knoxville Zoological Gardens
  • 2000-2006: Board of Directors
  • 2002-2004: Vice Chair
  • 2005-2006: Chair
  • 2006-Present: Honorary Director
  • 2000-2003: Board of Directors, Fort Sanders Foundation
  • 2000-2002: Nine Counties, One Vision, Chair, Transportation Committee
  • 2001-2006: ALCOA Community Advisory Board
  • 2002-2004: Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Board
  • 2003-2005: Board of Directors, Friends of Headrick Chapel
  • 2004-Present: Sevier County Library Foundation
  • 2004-2006: Board of Directors, Museum of Appalachia, Vice Chair
  • Leadership Sevier
  • 1996: Co-Founder
  • 1996-Present: Board of Directors
  • 2001: President[9]

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Wade received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.14, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.02 that justices received in Tennessee. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[13]

In the news

State senator wants to review procedures for complaints against judges

June 9, 2014: Senator Mike Bell, who chairs the government operations committee, announced that at the end of May he planned to hold a hearing regarding how the state handles judicial misconduct complaints. Bell became concerned about the issue after the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct dismissed a misconduct allegation against Chief Justice Gary Wade.

The complaint was brought by Bell in November 2013. He alleged Wade violated state ethics rules for judges when he appeared to publicly endorse three state appellate court judges in 2013. Wade apparently made the statements while speaking to a reporter for the Knoxville News Sentinel.[14]

At the time Wade offered his opinions to the reporter, Andy D. Bennett, of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, and Camille McMullen and Jerry L. Smith, of the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, were appearing before the Tennessee Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission and had received poor preliminary reviews from some on the panel. Judges must receive a satisfactory final report from the commission in order to run unopposed for retention. Otherwise, they must run in a contested election to retain their seat.[15]

A November 10, 2013, story in the Knoxville News Sentinel quoted Wade as saying the three judges "deserve new terms."[15] Wade made positive comments about all three judges to the newspaper. Smith, who had entered a guilty plea after being stopped for drunk driving, withdrew his name from consideration on November 27, and said he would not seek another term on the bench. McMullen and Bennett were recommended for retention by the commission.

According to a letter from the chairman of the board of judicial conduct, Chris Craft, to an investigative reporter for Nashville's NewsChannel 5, an "internal complaint" against Justice Wade was investigated and later dismissed. Wade told the board the comments in the Sentinel article were accurate. However, the board found Wade's comments had addressed whether or not the judges should be allowed to run for retention instead of facing contested elections. The board's disciplinary counsel found Wade's comments were not a public endorsement of any of the judges, according to Craft. Craft issued a confidential notice of dismissal to Wade, dated December 18, 2013. However, the letter also cautioned the chief justice, noting his remarks could be construed as a violation of the Tennessee Code of Judicial Conduct's ban preventing judges from expressing support or opposition for candidates running for public office.[15]

Other senate Republicans have also expressed concern that the judicial conduct board is not thoroughly investigating complaints against judges. Tennessee's house majority leader, Gerald McCormick, also supported the senate hearing. McCormick has been critical of the recent efforts by the three justices to coordinate their campaigns to remain on the bench. "They need to be replaced," he told the TN Report.[14] McCormick accused the justices of acting like "partisan Democrats" and criticized what he called their "aggressive" efforts to raise funds "so they can keep their jobs."[14]

See also

External links


TennesseeUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of TennesseeUnited States District Court for the Middle District of TennesseeUnited States District Court for the Western District of TennesseeUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of TennesseeUnited States bankruptcy court, Middle District of TennesseeUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of TennesseeUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitTennessee Supreme CourtTennessee Court of AppealsTennessee Court of Criminal AppealsTennessee Circuit CourtTennessee Chancery CourtsTennessee Criminal CourtTennessee Probate CourtTennessee General Sessions CourtTennessee Juvenile CourtTennessee Municipal CourtTennessee countiesTennessee judicial newsTennessee judicial electionsJudicial selection in TennesseeTennesseeTemplate.jpg