Stan Kweller is the Third Jewish Judge Appointed to the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court
Tennessee governor Bill Lee appointed Stan Kweller as circuit court judge for the 20th Judicial District Jan. 11, making him the second Jewish person ever appointed to the 20th judicial district circuit court. Kweller, who fills a vacancy created by the death of Judge Philip Smith, will be the only Jewish circuit court judge in Davidson County today.
A lifelong resident of Tennessee, Kweller holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Emory University and a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
Kweller has 45 years of experience in the legal field, 30 of which were within the family court. He spent eight years as a prosecutor in Upper East Tennessee, worked at a small civil firm, and served as an assistant defense attorney before moving to Nashville in the early 1990s.
The 20th Judicial District Circuit Court hears matters involving family law, divorce, custody, child support, and orders of protection. Kweller said he is confident that his Jewish identity will influence his judicial work on a day-to-day basis.
“My Jewish identity has taught me that judges and lawyers have obligations to be fair, to treat people with dignity and respect,” Kweller said in a phone interview. “There are prescriptions for what judges should and shouldn't do. So all of those things and just the general Hillel theory: ‘Do not unto others as you would not have others do unto you.’”
Kweller said he is preceded by two former circuit court judges who identify as Jewish: Charles Gilbert and Carol Solomon.
Upon assuming his role, Kweller said his goals include staying true to the judicial principles of justice and fairness, regardless of whether others agree with his rulings.
“My hopes are to be a judge that people respect, that people will listen to, and they will respect the rulings that I made, [which are] not being made for anything but what the law requires and based on the facts that are presented to me,” Kweller said. “I [will] treat people with a certain amount of dignity and [won’t] degrade them or their lawyers. And they [will] feel like they got to be heard by somebody who listened to them. Even if they don’t agree with my ruling, they [will] still feel like they got a fair shot.”
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