Senate Confirms Parker for Federal Bench in Tennessee

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Senate on Wednesday unanimously confirmed a former prosecutor and corporate defense attorney to a seat on a federal court in Tennessee.

Thomas Parker, whom President Donald Trump nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee in July, spent a decade as a federal prosecutor before moving to the firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell and Berkowitz in 2004.

While at the firm, Parker defended several hospitals and health care providers in medical malpractice cases and government investigations. Parker has also successfully represented other companies in cases ranging from Medicare fraud investigations to an FDA inquiry into a spice manufacturer, according to his profile on the Baker Donelson website.

Parker has ties to the Republican party in Tennessee, having served on the Republican Party of Shelby County’s steering committee and later as the party’s counsel. Parker told the committee he reached out to Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both Republicans, in November 2016 to show his interest in the open spot on the federal court.

The former prosecutor tried the first-ever death penalty case in the Western District of Tennessee in 2003 against a man who was convicted of killing a person during a bank robbery. The jury did not impose the death penalty against him, with the court instead sentencing him to life in prison.

The defendant in the case attempted to suppress his confession at trial on the grounds that he had a mental disability, but the trial court and later the 6th Circuit ruled his alleged disability did not make him more susceptible to duress.

Parker told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., in written responses to questions submitted after his nomination hearing that his experience as a prosecutor would be helpful on the bench, but that his other experience working in civil litigation and as a defense attorney has also shaped him.

“If I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, I hope and trust that my life experience, both professional and personal, will enable me to fulfill the role of judge without favoritism to any faction or party and, instead, faithfully and impartially adhere to the law” Parker wrote.

Parker’s path to the bench was essentially non-controversial, coming out of the Judiciary Committee by a unanimous voice vote and clearing the full Senate on Wednesday afternoon with a 98-0 vote.

Sens. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican, did not vote.

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