Administrative Office of the Courts
The Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) provides support to the Tennessee Supreme Court and the entire state court system. The director, appointed by the Supreme Court, is administrative officer for the courts and oversees the AOC.
- Preparing the court system’s annual budget;
- Providing judicial education;
- Providing computers, other equipment, training, and technical support for judges and other court personnel;
- Assisting judges with case assignments;
- Administering payroll accounts for the court system;
- Conducting orientation for new judges and staff members;
- Administering the official state criminal court reporters system;
- Providing assistance to judicial committees;
- Compiling court data; and
- Managing and disbursing funds to court-appointed attorneys representing indigents.
Administrative Office of the Courts
511 Union Street
Nashville, TN 37219
Fax: (615) 741-6285
Deborah Taylor Tate is the Administrative Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Tate was appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court in January 2015 to direct an office of approximately 75 people who provide administrative support to the trial and appellate judges and courts across the state.
A former FCC Commissioner, Tate, who was twice nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate to the FCC, began her professional career in Tennessee state government. She served as assistant legal counsel and senior policy advisor to two former Tennessee governors: Don Sundquist and Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Tate also served as both Chairman and director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, led the health facilities commission and was a director at Vanderbilt University Institute of Public Policy.
Tate has remained active at the international level in her role as the first Special Envoy to the International Telecommunications Union and was recognized as a Laureate for her work with child online issues. Nationally, she serves as a director of Healthstream, Inc. (Nasdaq: HSTM); as a distinguished adjunct senior fellow at the Free State Foundation; as well as vice-chairman of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, a group committed to a more diverse media ecosystem.
Tate, a licensed attorney, is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator, Nashville Bar Foundation Fellow, and served in private practice representing families and juveniles in juvenile court as a guardian ad litem. She was also president of the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board. Previously, she coordinated both the Juvenile Justice Commission and the Title 33 Commission, which rewrote the entire mental health law for the state of Tennessee. In 2009, she was introduced before the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Tate has received numerous awards, including an award for Outstanding Public Service from Common Sense Media, the Good Scout Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the Carol Reilly Award from the New York State Broadcasters Association, the D.C. Policy Leader award from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the YW Award from the Academy for Women of Achievement, and the Jerry Duvall Public Service Award from the Phoenix Center for Advanced Public Policy Studies. She received the prestigious Mary Harriman award from the Association of Junior Leagues International (both Martha Ingram and Justice Sandra Day O’Conner are recipients).
Tate received both her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and also studied at Vanderbilt University Law School while working as a law clerk to Governor Alexander.
A fifth-generation Tennessee native, Tate is a committed volunteer, giving generously of her time and talent to many, including Common Sense Media, Centerstone of Tennessee, Centerstone Research Institute, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and Renewal House, an organization she helped found. She serves as an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church and lives in Nashville with her husband, William H. Tate, who is a partner in the law firm of Howard, Tate, Sowell, Wilson, Leathers & Johnson. They have three adult children.