Judge Ben W. Hooper II Celebrates Retirement

September 26, 2017

Circuit Court Judge Ben W. Hooper II was recently joined by hundreds of friends, family, and colleagues at a reception at Carson Springs Conference Center to pay tribute to his lengthy judicial and public service career. Judge Hooper retired August 31, 2017.  He served as a judge for 24 years.

Judge Hooper practiced law in Newport for 30 years before taking the bench, and for 25 of these years, he maintained the highest peer rating for legal ability and character. He practiced in the federal courts of Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Tennessee, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. During this same period, he served as a delegate to the 1965 and 1971 Constitutional Conventions and as a member of the Tennessee State Senate from 1975 to 1983.

His earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Tennessee, where he was very active, belonging to social and honorary societies, serving as editor of the yearbook and as president of the Student Bar Association.

Over the years Judge Hooper often said he could never hold himself up to a standard of perfection, but, if you could always keep in mind that in the overall scheme of things you are no more than a mere grain of sand, you could do quite well and accomplish a lot.  He presided over the Cocke County Drug Recovery Court since its inception and also served on the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program for six years, by Tennessee Supreme Court appointment. His devotion to helping alcoholics and addicts, in and out of his courtroom, was a rewarding challenge for him.

“By serving with humility, honesty, and the deepest commitment to serving his community, Judge Hooper raised the bar for other judges and community leaders.  It was heart-warming to see the community’s deep love and respect for Judge Hooper and his family. It has been a great honor to know Judge Hooper and learn from his common sense wisdom. I wish him all the best in his retirement, ” said Justice Sharon Lee of the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

When seeking election to the judgeship in 1994, Judge Hooper recognized that the powers of a judge are awesome and agreed with the statement that any man who feels worthy of and equal to the job, is in fact incompetent and has the makings of a tyrant. He pledged to exercise the power and responsibility of a judge without becoming intoxicated on his own importance and infatuated with his own image. He began his judicial career further pledging to every person he dealt with to hear them courteously, to answer them wisely, to consider them soberly, and to decide impartially. Judge Hooper succeeded in honoring his pledge. Upon announcing his retirement, Judge Hooper said, “The time has come to spend time with my wife, Patsy, our four children, nine grandchildren, and three
great-grandchildren. God has been good to me over the years.”

Patsy & Ben W. Hooper II