United TN delegation finally gets Nashville courthouse named after the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Legislation naming a new federal courthouse in honor of the late Sen. Fred Thompson failed to pass Congress last year – perhaps one of the most notable bipartisan flops of the session for the Tennessee delegation to Congress. It passed the House, but the Senate where Thompson served never got around to voting on it, despite support from Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker. (Previous post HERE.)

The Tennessee delegation came back with the proposal again this year and declared success Wednesday. Here’s the bipartisan, collective press release, interestingly themed on asking President Trump to sign the bill (a veto, one suspects, is rather unlikely):

Joint press release from TN congressional delegation

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2017 U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) along with U.S. Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) today urged the president to sign bipartisan legislation to name the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.

Senator Alexander said: “Tennesseans and our country were fortunate that public service attracted Fred Thompson. His personality had a streak of magic – he was authentic, purposeful and principled – and he worked hard. After graduating from Vanderbilt University law school, he served in Nashville as Assistant United States Attorney. In 1973, Sen. Howard Baker named him minority counsel in the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In 1994, Tennesseans elected him United States Senator and two years later re-elected him to a full six year term. He was an actor in more than 20 movies. I can think of no one else who is more appropriate to name the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of than Fred. I’m glad the House and Senate passed this legislation, and I urge the president to sign it without delay.”

Senator Corker said: “Fred Thompson was one of a kind. He served the people of Tennessee and our country with great distinction, and through his many different roles in public life, Fred never forgot where he came from. I was proud to call him a friend and am pleased this legislation now heads to the president’s desk for his signature.”

Representative Black said: “Fred Thompson was a statesman who led with conviction, and he was a visionary who helped turn our state into the conservative success story that it is today. Tennessee shines brighter because of Fred Thompson’s service. This courthouse will serve as a worthy tribute to his enduring legacy.”

Representative Blackburn said: “Fred Thompson served our community, state and nation with distinction.  It is right and fitting that the Federal Courthouse in Nashville bear his name. It is a testament to his legacy and leadership.”

Representative Cooper said: “I am thankful that the 20-year process of getting a new federal courthouse for Nashville is finally nearing completion. Sens. Alexander and Corker deserve great credit, as does our House appropriator, Rep. Fleischmann. The Thompson Courthouse should be a place where every American can get equal justice under law.”

Representative Cohen: “It is an honor to be a cosponsor of the bipartisan bill in the House to honor my friend Fred Thompson. Fred served the United States Senate and the state of Tennessee with distinction for 8 years. He was a proud graduate of the University of Memphis and the only U of M grad to ever serve in the Senate. I was present when the National Conference of State Legislatures awarded him the Restoring the Balance Award for his dedication to federalism. For Fred, it was not a political or campaign issue, it was his philosophy. Fred was always encouraging to me and I valued our friendship. He led an eclectic life from his time as an outstanding congressional staffer during the Watergate hearings and as a fine attorney, actor, and public servant. It is most appropriate that we name the federal courthouse in Nashville after this great American.”

Representative DesJarlais said: “From working as a young attorney highlighting corruption in the White House and Tennessee’s governor’s mansion, to being a familiar face on movies and television, to serving our state as a United States Senator, Fred Thompson will always be known as a favorite son of Tennessee.  His service will be a part of the rich history of our state, and I am happy to join my colleagues in supporting this initiative.”

Representative Duncan said: “This is a fitting tribute to Senator Fred Thompson who was a strong, independent voice for Tennessee and somebody for whom I had great admiration and respect.  Even though he achieved great national prominence, he never forgot his Tennessee roots.”

Representative Fleischmann said: “Senator Fred Thompson gave many years of dedicated service to Tennessee and this great nation. I am very pleased the Senate has passed the legislation naming a Federal Courthouse after him, and I look forward to President Trump signing the bill into law.”

Representative Kustoff said: “As a lawyer and a lawmaker, I am continually inspired by Fred Thompson’s dedication to the pursuit of justice. His remarkable talent and passion for public service will always be celebrated by Tennesseans. I am pleased this legislation has passed both chambers of Congress and will now head to President Trump’s desk to become law.”

Representative Roe said: “I’m glad to see this bill to honor Senator Thompson has been passed by the House and Senate. Fred was a dedicated public servant, and I hope the president will quickly sign this legislation to honor the memory of a great statesman and Tennessean.”

Full funding for construction of the new Nashville federal courthouse was provided by Congress in the fiscal year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in December of 2015. The new courthouse will be constructed by the General Services Administration and will be located at 719 Church Street.

Fred Thompson was first elected to the United States Senate in 1994 and served as a Senator from the State of Tennessee until 2003. Sen. Thompson graduated from Memphis State University in 1964 and Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1967. He also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the State of Tennessee before serving as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973. Sen. Thompson passed away on Nov. 1, 2015.

On Jan. 9, members of the Tennessee delegation introduced a bipartisan bill to name the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of Fred Thompson. On March 7, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the legislation. The Senate passed the legislation today, and now the bill will be sent to the president so it can be signed into law.


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