Professor Jeffrey Usman was confirmed to the Court of Appeals – Middle Section by a unanimous vote of the Tennessee House and Senate. He was appointed to the intermediate appellate court by Governor Bill Lee on March 28 after being recommended by the Governor’s Council for Judicial Appointments. He will fill the vacancy left after the retirement of the Honorable Richard H. Dinkins, effective September 1, 2022.
Professor Usman is one of the founding faculty members of the Belmont University College of Law, where he teaches Constitutional Law I & II, Criminal Constitutional Law, First Amendment, and State Constitutional Law. He also serves as a faculty advisor to Belmont’s Law Review and Legal Aid Society and chairs the faculty development committee. He is a five-time recipient of a Best Professor Award and has published dozens of articles on a wide-range of legal topics.
“Professor Usman is an avid legal writer and scholar and has long been dedicated to the issue of Access to Justice,” said Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger A. Page. “He is going to make an excellent appellate judge and public servant for our State. He has been a tremendous advocate for justice and transparency in the courts and his passion for the law is inspiring. The Supreme Court is thrilled to have him join the bench.”
Professor Usman has held judicial clerkships with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama. He also served as a career law clerk to former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice William C. Koch, Jr. for five years. Professor Usman also worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University graduating Phi Beta Kappa, J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School graduating Order of the Coif, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School.
“I am honored to have been nominated by Governor Lee and confirmed by the members of the Tennessee General Assembly,” Professor Usman said. “The judges of the Tennessee Court of Appeals are an incredibly dedicated group. I cannot imagine a better group of colleagues to be joining. To the utmost of my ability, I will strive to be of service to the people of the State of Tennessee, and I will be dedicated to helping to ensure equal justice under the law.”
His past and present professional associations and memberships include, among others: American Bar Association; Belmont University College of Law Inn of Court; Federalist Society; Southeastern Association of Law Schools (Inclusiveness Committee and Scholarly Research Committee); Tennessee Bar Association; Tennessee Bar Association Access to Justice Committee; Access to Justice Committee Law School Subcommittee; Friends of Illuminate Academy; Illuminate Academy Parents Group; St. Henry Catholic Church; and St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He also served as the Reporter for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on the Rules of Practice and Procedure.
His honors and awards include, among others: Belmont University Chaney Distinguished Professor Award Finalist (2016); Belmont University College of Law Best Professor Award (2012, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2022); Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Law Class Selection (2015); and Tennessee Supreme Court Attorney for Justice (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021).