Judge Charles E. Atchley, Jr., Eastern Tennessee U.S. District Court

Judge Charles E. Atchley

Eastern Tennessee U.S. District Court

Charles Edward Atchley, Jr. was born in November 1966 in Knoxville, Tennessee.  He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and received his Juris Doctor from the Cumberland School of Law. He entered private practice. 

Atchley served as an assistant district attorney general for Tennessee. He became an assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee and served in the Criminal Division. He spent two years as the first assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. 

He was nominated by President Donald Trump to be a district judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He was confirmed by the Senate and received his commission in December 2020. 

In the News…

U.S. District Judge Charles Atchley Jr. ruled President Biden’s administration likely violated federal law by issuing an executive order and guidance equating sex and gender identity without proper rulemaking, plausibly pressuring 20 states to change their laws recognizing sex-based rights or risk losing “substantial federal funding.” 

The preliminary injunction said the White House and agencies wrongly invoked the Supreme Court’s ruling in a transgender employment case to justify their decision.   

Judge Atchley’s ruling could also assist students, parents, and school employees in legal challenges to gender identity policies that are premised, explicitly or implicitly, on federal interpretations of the word “sex” and the threatened loss of funding for noncompliance. 

The judge determined the guidance documents issued by DOE and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in response to President Biden’s January 2021 executive order “constitute final agency action,” regardless of their “self-serving labels,” giving him jurisdiction to rule on them. 

At least 10 of the 20 states have shown both a “concrete and particularized” and “actual or imminent” threat to their ability to enforce their own laws that is “fairly traceable” to the administration, Judge Atchley said. It’s not an “abstract question” of sovereignty. 

He pointed to Tennessee laws determining school sports participation by “the student’s sex at the time of the student’s birth” and letting students and employees sue schools that intentionally let the opposite sex into an occupied “multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility.” 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Atchley today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Charles E. Atchley, Jr. 
Eastern Tennessee U.S. District Court 
900 Georgia Avenue 
Chattanooga, TN 37402 


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