When will new federal courthouse be built?

Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 11:45pm
federal-courthouse.jpg

Everyone knows Jim Cooper doesn’t do earmarks.

The congressman, who represents Tennessee’s 5th District, is an avowed earmark-slayer; not only does he rail against them at every opportunity, Cooper stubbornly refuses to play the game for Nashville, which has delighted purists and peeved players throughout Davidson County during his eight years in office.

But Cooper’s guiding principle finally seems to have won out — at least when it comes to our new federal courthouse. (That’d be the courthouse we’ve needed since 1992, when the federal government first deemed Estes Kefauver Federal Courthouse at Seventh and Broadway inadequate.)

Due largely to the hustle of the Blue Dog Democrat, Nashville currently sits at No. 2 on the Judicial Conference’s five-year plan of ready-to-build courthouses; we’re set to receive our $173 million in federal funds next year. Perhaps just as importantly, though, Cooper and the House’s Courthouse Caucus, of which he is co-chair, appear to be succeeding in reinvigorating a federal selection process that had given way to the political maneuverings of a deeply cynical Congress.

“You could call the Courthouse Caucus the anti-earmark caucus,” Cooper told The City Paper. “The purpose of it is to have federal building decisions based on the merits, where the real need is, instead of where the political arm-twisting that takes place [is].”

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has a system for analyzing the need for courthouses based on various factors, including the number of trials held there, the general safety and post-9/11 security of the building, and the ability to conduct a proper trial.

According to a report released in May by the Government Accountability Office, more than a quarter of the overall space in the 33 courthouses built since 2000 is excessive, and 27 exceed the size authorized by Congress when their funding was appropriated.

Cooper is expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on the matter Wednesday.

“I believe that good guys win in the end, and virtue triumphs,” he said, breaking into a chuckle. “It just takes a little longer than it should.”

5 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 9/27/10 at 5:29

Having had the opportunity to visit the fairly new Federal Courthouse
in Boston two yrs ago, I suggest those planning the Nashville one
make sure and take a look at that one prior to finalizing the plans
on ours. This Jim Cooper fan certainly would agree on "It just
takes longer". Let's do it right when it comes our time!

By: shinestx on 9/27/10 at 6:14

The difference is that Jim Cooper has been woefully ineffective as a representative for Nashville. If not for his daddy, he would be some paper shuffler in a basement cubicle in the Cordell Hull building. This article says that the courthouse has been needed since 1992, and who has our representative been during most of that time? Mmmm-hm! Jimmy-boy. Look, this guy is a back-bencher who prides himself on "no earmarks" when, in fact, that's his own euphemism for "don't bother me with stuff that I'd have to do in Washington because I have no clout!" The Dem-wits have owned DC for four years, and still Jim Stupor can't get a much needed courthouse for his district.

Regarding Boston, it's obvious that the clout of Kennedys has far more pull (even during a Republican administration) than a Jim Stupor (D) during a Dem-wit administration and Dem-wit dominated Congress. Nashvillians, is that the sort of person you want to send back to DC?

By: shinestx on 9/27/10 at 6:18

And one more thing... Why in H3LL is the federal government planning to build this courthouse three blocks away from the Kefauver Building, which I'm given to understand will continue to serve as a courthouse? Geez, isn't that parking lot behind the Kefauver building, at the corner of Demonbreun and 8th Avenue owned by the feds (I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem to guy the small portion not owned by the feds). It would be adjacent to Kefauver and keep all the federal offices in that block.

By: Inglorious bastard on 9/28/10 at 4:47

This proposal was actually supposed to start in 2001 and has been repeatedly put off with Judge Echols howling in the background because judges must ride the same elevators as the convicted. There is no room and the building does not have the infrastructure for todays computers etc...

This lo is the best lot because it will be closer to the State Capitol and other state offices. Some of the lots behind the old Kefauver are slated for development in conjunction with the new MCC. The Kefauver will most likely end up being office space and no courtrooms will function there.

Its about time this thing got started and Jim Cooper has really dropped the ball in this City and State. he is a conservative republican. I just wish he would admit it. Blue Dog Democrats are the old Reagan Democrats. DINO's Democrats In Name Only.

By: Inglorious bastard on 9/28/10 at 4:47

This proposal was actually supposed to start in 2001 and has been repeatedly put off with Judge Echols howling in the background because judges must ride the same elevators as the convicted. There is no room and the building does not have the infrastructure for todays computers etc...

This lot is the best lot because it will be closer to the State Capitol and other state offices. Some of the lots behind the old Kefauver are slated for development in conjunction with the new MCC. The Kefauver will most likely end up being office space and no courtrooms will function there.

Its about time this thing got started and Jim Cooper has really dropped the ball in this City and State. he is a conservative republican. I just wish he would admit it. Blue Dog Democrats are the old Reagan Democrats. DINO's Democrats In Name Only.