Gov. Haslam Swears in Chief Justice Bivins

October 6, 2016

Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Jeff Bivins was sworn in by Gov. Bill Haslam at a ceremonial investiture in the historic Supreme Court chambers Thursday afternoon.

More than 80 people were in attendance as Gov. Haslam praised Chief Justice Bivins’s work and the quality of the judiciary as a whole.

“We should be proud of the type of people who serve us on the bench in this state,” Gov. Haslam said.

Following the swearing in, Chief Justice Bivins thanked all those in attendance, including dozens of members of the judiciary.

“It truly is an honor for me to now serve as your Chief Justice,” he said. “As the head of the judicial branch of government, I am proud of the judiciary we have in this state, thanks in significant part to Gov. Halsam, we are blessed with an outstanding judiciary at all levels in Tennessee.”

In Chief Justice Bivins’s remarks, he said he intends to travel throughout the state and meet with people from throughout Tennessee and listen to their concerns. He emphasized the Court’s work on Access to Justice, addressing indigent representation, and the business court docket. He also said he believes it’s time to “begin the discussion about a comprehensive review of our criminal sentencing laws in Tennessee.”

Justice Cornelia Clark, who served as Chief Justice from 2010-2102 spoke on behalf of the Court.

“Justice Bivins has the perfect combination of intelligence, respect for the rule of law, expectations of excellence, and true grit when necessary ... to bring out the best in all of us,” she said.

Chief Justice Bivins was unanimously elected chief by the Court last month. He was appointed to the Court in 2014 by Gov. Bill Haslam and was elected to the remainder of the full term in 2016. Prior to assuming that position, he was a judge on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals from August 2011 until July 2014.

Previously, Justice Bivins served as a Circuit Court Judge for the 21st Judicial District of Tennessee, covering Williamson, Hickman, Lewis, and Perry Counties. He is a 1986 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Law. He received a B.A. Degree, magna cum laude, in 1982 from East Tennessee State University, with a major in political science and a minor in criminal justice.

He is a member of the John Marshall American Inn of Court, having served as President from 2003-2008, and the Harry Phillips American Inn of Court. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, and the Williamson County Bar Association. He also is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the Tennessee Bar Foundation, and the Nashville Bar Foundation. He is a former member of the Williamson County Commission. Prior to his appointment to the trial bench, Justice Bivins practiced law with the firm of Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry PLC in Nashville, Tennessee. He also served as Assistant Commissioner and General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Personnel.

Gov. Bill Haslam administers the oath to Chief Justice Bivins as his family looks on.

Justice Holly Kirby, Justice Sharon Lee, Chief Justice Jeff Bivins, Justice Cornelia Clark, Justice Roger Page