NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sharon Lee on Tuesday announced that she will retire from the state’s highest court next year.
“Serving in the Tennessee Judiciary for the past 19 years has been the greatest honor of my professional life,” Lee said in a letter to Gov. Bill Lee. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Tennesseans and have done my best to fulfill my judicial oath by upholding the state and federal Constitutions and administering justice faithfully and impartially.”
Lee is currently the longest serving member of the Tennessee Supreme Court after being appointed by former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2008. Before that, she was an appeals judge for four years. Her last day will be Aug. 31, 2023.
During Lee’s tenure, she spearheaded the state’s business court pilot project, electronic filing and a review of the state’s indigent representation system.
She is also the only remaining justice on the five-member court to be appointed by a Democrat after Justice Cornelia Clark died last year.
Gov. Lee, a Republican, will now be tasked with appointing a replacement. His selection must be confirmed by state lawmakers. Republicans have supermajority control in both legislative chambers. Supreme Court justices face “yes-no” retention elections every eight years.