A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Many in Roane know new federal judge Reeves

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Gentle reader, we have several items we hope to mention in this column, although, as the Roman writer opined: Ars longa, vita breva, tempus tugit, roughly translated, art is long, life is short, and time is fleeting, so it is sometimes with a column, so we don’t have time or space to cover all we would like to.

But, we must mention an historic event that happened last week when the U.S. Senate finally got around to voting in favour of President Obama’s nomination of Pamela Reeves to fill the vacancy of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

She is the first woman to fill this judgeship. This District covers all of East Tennessee and court is normally held in Greeneville, Chattanooga, Winchester, and Knoxville.

Judge Reeves will most likely have her regular chambers in Knoxville, but may be assigned on occasion to one of the other cities.

If you saw Georgiana Vines’ article about this appointment in Sunday’s News Sentinel, you would have seen an accompanying photo of the new judge and her judicial assistant moving boxes into her offices in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Federal Courthouse, with the judge carrying a full box of files on her hip, just like any other “moving man.”

Many of our readers may remember Pam as she has tried various lawsuits in this county in her years at the bar, and in recent years as she conducted a good deal of mediation, including cases involving local folks.

People in Rockwood will recall that she was engaged in the Clymersville Horsehead litigation, and although she was representing the defendants, we always felt that most of the Clymersville citizens became fond of Pam as she was so friendly and out-going.

Some will also remember her as the writer of a Sunday column on business law issues in the News Sentinel for several years.

Inasmuch as we had known her since she began her practice several years ago, we wrote her a letter of congratulation a few days ago, but it occurred to us that it was more appropriate to congratulate the people of Roane County for having got a federal judge who spoke their language and understood their lifestyle.

We’re not sure that has happened since the time when Frank Wilson from Oak Ridge was appointed federal judge, but his chambers were in Chattanooga and so he had little to do with the folks in this area.

We look forward to good things from our new federal judge. We just regret we are too old and worn out to try any cases before her court, or any other for that matter.
While we are on the topic of the law and lawyers, the profession in Roane County seems to be somewhat in a state of flux.

As the reader may, or may not, be aware, our old friend Richard K. Evans has retired and closed his office in Kingston.

And come the August General Election, there could be two or more of the bar elected to offices that would preclude them from private practice.

However, the younger generation is rapidly appearing on the scene ready to take up the slack left as we old timers slowly fade into the obscurity of “that good night.”

The Loden sisters, Jodie and Juliana, have been here for a while and the younger has an office across the road from their father’s business on Gallaher Road.

Likewise Katherine Parks has been in downtown Kingston with an office on the second floor of the Parker Building (the old Kingston Bank and Trust) above Tom McFarland’s office, with whom she has an association.
Just recently Jonathan Edwards has moved his practice from Knoxville to an office also upstairs in the Parker Building. We have only just met him, but he seems an intelligent and personable young chap.

We have heard that there may be another young lawyer in town, whom we have not yet had the privilege of meeting, so cannot confirm. All of them we wish well as they embark on this ancient and honourable profession.
The Tennessee General Assembly continues to amaze and confound. We heard Monday that Republican leader Glen Casada has had passed an apology for the infamous “Trail of Tears,” whereby the Cherokees were expelled to Oklahoma and their lands taken from them over the years, culminating in 1838.

It strikes us that it would be more seemly for Rep. Casada to devote his draughtsmanship to draughting apologies to those who are still in the land of the living for all the injustices that he and his cohorts in the General Assembly have inflicted and continue to inflict in the name of their warped ideologies and perverted moralities. That could do some good; grand-standing apologies to those long since mouldering in the ground do no good to anyone.
There are some more items we would like to cover but we can’t and still have room to say anything about a letter to the editor from Mr. David Manzano of Harriman, wherein he takes us to task for criticizing the administration of Bryan College in Dayton for imposing an oath limiting what their faculty can teach.

Mr. Manzano either did not read, or did not understand the thrust of our article: we clearly stated we did not care what they believed, it was the FORCING of their belief on others that disturbed us.

Curiously enough, Monday’s News Sentinel carried a lengthy article detailing how two of the descendants of William Jennings Bryan, for whom the college is named, think he would have disagreed with the administration’s policy of imposing this oath on the faculty.

We are also somewhat astonished that Mr. Manzano doesn’t see the unsustainability of the proposition stated in his concluding paragraph, to-wit:

“Of the two possible explanations for the origin of life, Bryan College chooses belief in God, I support their choice.” By what authority does he limit possible explanations to two?

We wish Mr. Manzano would re-read our statements, and likewise re-read his authorities, both with an open mind, without preconceived notions.

It is not our intention to change Mr. Manzano’s mind, for he is obviously a man of strong convictions, but by the same token, we do not like for him to try to convince folks that we have taken positions that we have not taken, and that are contrary to our heritage from our Huguenot, Quaker, Presbyterian, Baptist, or Church of England forebears.

The ultimate, distilled principle from all of these is best expressed in Mr. Jefferson’s words: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” (Letter to Dr. Benj. Rush, 23 Sept. 1800.)