Bob Corlew

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Bob Corlew
Judge of the Rutherford County and Cannon County Chancery Court
In office
Preceded byWhitney Stegall
Succeeded byHoward W. Wilson
Judge of the Rutherford County and Cannon County General Sessions Court
In office
Preceded byJames Clayton
Succeeded byDavid Loughry
Personal details
Robert Ewing Corlew III
Political partyRepublican
EducationDavidson College (BA)
St. Mary's University, Texas (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Robert Ewing Corlew III is an American politician and former judge in the state of Tennessee. He is currently running for Tennessee's 6th congressional district in 2018.

Early life and education[edit]

In high school, Corlew earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and served in the U.S. Senate Page program in Washington, D.C.[1]

In 1975, Corlew received his Bachelor of Arts from Davidson College in North Carolina, where he "served as senior class president, vice president of the student body and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant after completion of the ROTC program." He subsequently graduated in 1977 from St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas,[2][3] where he was executive editor of the law review.[4]


After graduating from law school, Corlew served in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox in Kentucky. He ultimately earned the rank of First Lieutenant and would also serve as captain in the Tennessee Army National Guard and as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve.[1]

Corlew was elected to the Murfreesboro City Council in 1982. He served on the City Council until 1984.[5]

In 1984, Corlew was elected a General Sessions judge. He replaced James Clayton.[6] He was succeeded by David Loughry.[7] In 1990, he was elected as a Chancery Court judge after the incumbent, Whitney Stegall, retired.[8] He oversaw civil cases in Cannon and Rutherford Counties until his retirement in 2014.[9]

As Chancery Court judge, Corlew oversaw a bench trial which began in 2010 to determine "whether county officials violated open meetings law by approving" the site plan of a new mosque for the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro (ICM).[10][11] In November 2010, Corlew "denied opponents of the mosque an emergency injunction that would block the construction of the project, saying they failed to prove that Rutherford County violated open meetings laws or illegally approved the site plan."[12]

In September 2011, Corlew affirmed the ICM's right to build a larger facility but he also "wrote that the plaintiffs suing Rutherford County's planning commission can challenge whether the mosque's approval violated open meeting laws."[13] Subsequent litigation led Corlew to void construction approval for the ICM mosque in May 2012, ruling that the Rutherford County Regional Planning Commission had failed to "give sufficient notice for the public meeting held on May 24, 2010, during which the site plans for the mosque were approved."[14][15] In 2013, the Tennessee Court of Appeals overturned his decision.[16][17]

Corlew retired as a judge in 2014 after a 30-year long career.[18] Corlew was succeeded by Howard W. Wilson.[19] From 1999 to 2014, Corlew also served on the faculty of the Nashville School of Law, where he taught the course "Negotiable Instruments, Remedies, and Secured Transactions."[20]


On January 23, 2018, Corlew announced he would be seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Tennessee's 6th congressional district. The seat is being vacated by Republican Diane Black, who is running to be Governor of Tennessee.[9]

In the Republican primary, Corlew will face former Commissioner of Agriculture of Tennessee John Rose and State Representative Judd Matheny, among others.[21]

Bob lost the race, finishing in second. He got 32,629 votes, approximately 31 percent of the count.

Community service[edit]

Since 1978, Corlew has been a member of the Murfreesboro branch of the service organization Lions Clubs International, for which he has held various leadership positions. In July 2014, Corlew was elected to serve as second vice president of Lions Clubs International at the organization's annual international convention.[22][23] In 2017, Corlew served as Lions Club International President.[24]

Corlew has also been active in the local leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, the American Red Cross, the Reserve Officers Association of Tennessee, and the Tennessee State Jaycees, where he served as state president.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Corlew and his wife Dianne live in Mount Juliet in Wilson County, Tennessee and have a farm in Milton in Rutherford County, Tennessee. They have five children and eight grandchildren.[1]

Corlew grew up in the Presbyterian Church and has served as chair of the board of deacons at his church. His grandfather was a minister.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Corlew running for Congress". The Murfreesboro Post. January 30, 2018.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Mt. Juliet's Corlew announces congressional bid". The Wilson Post. January 31, 2018.
  3. "Corlew named director of International Lions Clubs". Daily News Journal. October 24, 2011.
  4. "Former Cannon judge Corlew announces run for Congress". The Cannon Courier. January 26, 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Former judge announces campaign for U.S. Rep. Diane Black's congressional seat". The Tennessean. January 24, 2018.
  10. "Ex-Tennessee Judge Launches GOP Bid to Replace Rep. Black". AP. January 25, 2018.
  11. "Hearing over Tennessee mosque puts Islam on trial". AP. November 11, 2010.
  12. "Court Rules Construction Of Tennessee Mosque Should Move Forward". NPR. November 18, 2010.
  13. "Embattled Tennessee mosque to move forward with construction". CNN. September 2, 2011.
  14. "Judge's ruling stops construction of Murfreesboro mosque". WSMV. May 29, 2012.
  15. "Tennessee mosque's fate up in the air after court ruling". CNN. May 30, 2012.
  16. "Corlew announces plans to retire from bench". The Murfreesboro Post. October 24, 2013.
  17. "Mosque opponents take case to Tenn. Supreme Court". Daily News Journal. July 30, 2013.
  18. "Chancellor Bob Corlew not running for office again, well - not the same office..." WGNS. April 11, 2014.
  20. "Nashville School of Law Recognized Three Leaders". The Tennessee Tribune. June 15, 2017.
  21. "Pro-Trump former judge files to run for Black's seat". Nashville Post. January 24, 2018.
  22. "Corlew elected as the second vice president of Lions Club International". Daily News Journal. July 31, 2014.
  23. "Corlews supporting Lions Clubs service". Daily News Journal. April 15, 2016.
  24. "Former Judge Bob Corlew Announces Candidacy for GOP Nomination in 6th Congressional District". The Tennessee Star. January 24, 2018.

External links[edit]

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