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August 2, 2013
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Holly M. Kirby appointed to Tennessee Supreme Court


Tennessee: Governor Bill Haslam has appointed appellate court judge Holly M. Kirby to the Tennessee Supreme Court, where she will fill the shoes of retiring Justice Janice Holder next summer. Kirby, who has served on the Court of Appeals since 1995, has an "impressive record of service" that will benefit Tennesseans, said Haslam.[1][2]

In her application, Kirby cited her commitment to the "rigorous adherence to legislative intent, even where I disagree," also saying that she considers her own life experiences when trying to understand the situations put before her as a judge:

Like many litigants, I have spent years caring for aging parents, have been the divorced mother of young children, and have struggled to care for a child with a disability. … I am mindful that lawsuits are not dry academic exercises; they are people's lives. In writing opinions for the Court, I work hard to tell the human story underlying the legal issues so that, no matter the result, litigants will know they have been heard.[1][3]

Kirby, 56, earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Memphis. Prior to joining the appellate court, she was a partner in the Memphis law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson.[1]

Only five people applied for the vacancy. The three finalists were Kirby, Criminal Court Judge Chris Craft and corporate attorney J. Brooke Lathram. This is Governor Haslam's first state supreme court appointment.[1]

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