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New Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Selected

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Justice Sharon Lee will become the new chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, effective Sept. 1. The term of the current chief justice, Gary R. Wade, will end August 31, though he will remain on the court, according to a spokesperson for the court.

Lee won a retention election for an eight-year term to the court in the August 7 statewide election. Spokesperson Michele Wojciechowski said the other justices met Thursday to elect Lee as the new chief justice. She did not have information on how many of the justices voted for Lee.  

Lee has been a member of the Tennessee Supreme Court since 2008.

"It's an honor to serve the court, the Tennessee judiciary, and the people of Tennessee in this role," Lee said in a press release. "I am grateful to the citizens of Tennessee for electing me to the Supreme Court and appreciate the confidence the members of the court have shown by electing me as chief justice. I will continue to work to ensure that courts in Tennessee are fair and impartial."

Before her appointment to the Supreme Court, Lee served as a judge on the Tennessee Court of Appeals from 2004 to 2008. From 1978 to 2004, she practiced law in her hometown of Madisonville and also served as a municipal judge, a mediator, and a county and city attorney. Lee received both her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Tennessee.

According to a press release, Lee is active in her community, serving on several boards including the YWCA Knoxville and the East Tennessee Historical Society. She also is involved with the Volunteer Ministry Center and the 2014 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention. Lee has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Chief Justice William E. Barker Equal Access to Justice Award, the YWCA Knoxville 30 Remarkable Women over the past 30 years, the Lizzie Crozier French Leadership Award from the East Tennessee Women's Leadership Council, YWCA Knoxville Tribute to Women Honoree, the Woman of Achievement Award from the Girl Scouts Council of the Southern Appalachians, the Spirit of Justice Award by the East Tennessee Lawyers' Association for Women, and the University of Tennessee Alumni Professional Promise Award. Lee has two daughters.



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