Tarwater selected to be on State Supreme Court

Longtime Knoxville attorney Dwight Tarwater will become the state’s newest Supreme Court justice.

Gov. Bill Lee’s office made the announcement Thursday afternoon. Tarwater will replace retiring Justice Sharon Lee, also of Knoxville.

The General Assembly must approve the appointment.

Tarwater previously served as chief legal counsel when Bill Haslam was Tennessee’s governor, and is a partner at Paine, Tarwater, Bickers, LLP.

Justice Lee retired last year.

(Governor Lee press release) Thursday, Governor Bill Lee announced the appointment of Dwight E. Tarwater to the Tennessee Supreme Court and Matthew Wilson to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Western Section.

“Dwight is a highly qualified attorney who will bring significant experience to the Tennessee Supreme Court,” said Lee. “His understanding of the judiciary’s appropriate role and commitment to the conservative principles of judicial restraint make him well-suited for the state’s highest court, and I am proud to appoint him to this position.”

Dwight Tarwater is a partner at Paine, Tarwater, Bickers, LLP. Tarwater brings more than 40 years of legal background to the Tennessee Supreme Court, including decades of trial and appellate experience and service as Chief Legal Counsel to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Tarwater earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Tennessee and J.D. at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Tarwater will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Sharon Lee, effective August 31.

“Matt’s extensive background in criminal prosecution has prepared him well to serve Tennesseans on the Court of Criminal Appeals,” said Lee. “I am confident he will bring valuable expertise to the bench, and I appreciate his service.”

Matthew Wilson is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Tennessee. Wilson brings significant criminal law experience to the Court of Criminal Appeals, including nearly 20 years of legal service at both the state and federal levels. Wilson earned his bachelor’s degree at Auburn University and J.D. at Florida State University College of Law. Wilson will fill a vacancy created by the death of Judge John Everett Williams.

Each of these judicial appointments is subject to confirmation by the General Assembly.

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