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In Memoriam: Honorable Thomas A. Wiseman Jr.

November 3, 1930 – March 18, 2020

Thomas A. Wiseman, Jr. a founding member of the Federal Judges Association, passed away March 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

After receiving his BA and JD degrees from Vanderbilt, his Master of Laws from the University of Virginia, and serving two years in the U.S. Army Judge Wiseman began his practice of law in Tullahoma, Tennessee in 1956. In January 1971, he and his family moved to Nashville where he assumed the office of State Treasurer to which he was elected that year and re-elected in 1973.

Judge Wiseman was appointed United States District Judge for the Middle Tennessee District, nominated by President Jimmy Carter, in 1978. He was Chief Judge of the Middle District from 1984 to 1991. Taking senior status in 1995, he continued to hold court in Nashville and, in addition, took assignments to other districts where there was a shortage of judges. Among these, he presided over the desegregation of schools in Nashville from 1978 until settlement and unitary status declaration in 2004, and also the Tennessee Higher Education desegregation case for 25 years.

Judge Wiseman served as a member of the founding board of directors and vice-president of the Federal Judges Association. At the request of the Tennessee Judicial Conference, he conducted training classes for the bench and bar in judge-sentencing when the Tennessee State Courts transitioned from jury to judge sentencing. He also loved to teach and had a parallel career as a teacher.

Judge Wiseman was proud to have been a public servant who tried to make a difference.


Please feel free to share your memories or condolences with the FJA.