Journey of service continues for Edward L. Stanton III

President Obama makes his choice to fill the U.S. District Court vacancy for the state’s Western District.

Karanja A. Ajanaku | 5/22/2015, 9:49 a.m.
President Obama makes his choice to fill the U.S. District Court vacancy for the state’s Western District.
Edward L. Stanton III (Photo: George Tillman Jr.)

The next step for Edward L. Stanton III will likely land him on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.

On Thursday, the White House announced that Stanton, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, is its choice to fill the vacancy being created by the retirement of Judge Samuel H. "Hardy" Mays.

A graduate of Central High School, Stanton earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Memphis in 1994. Three years later, he had his juris doctorate from the University of Memphis School of Law. He has served as U.S. Attorney for the Western District since 2010.

“U.S. Attorney Stanton is well respected by his peers and will serve our country in an outstanding fashion,” U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen said in statement also released Thursday.

It was Cohen who recommended Stanton to President Obama – a move that came after the Ninth District Congressman convened what his office described as “a bipartisan, biracial screening committee of local attorneys.”

“Ed Stanton has proven himself to be an outstanding lawyer both as U.S. Attorney and as senior litigator for FedEx,” said Cohen, adding that he was proud to make the recommendation.

At the U of M School of Law, Stanton was president of the Black Law Students Association, and vice-president of the Student Bar Association. When his classmates went through the process of deciding who should give the commencement address, Stanton emerged as their selection.

With that momentum, Stanton moved on to serve as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Memphis. Later came private practice with two Memphis law firms and then a stint as senior counsel with Federal Express Corporation (2002-10). In April of 2010, President Obama nominated to become the chief federal law enforcement officer for the 22 counties that make up state’s Western District. The U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination in short order.

No stranger to community service, Stanton has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the National Bar Association – Ben F. Jones Chapter, where he served as president. He was active with the Tennessee Commission on National and Community Service and served as chairman of Shelby County Books from Birth.

The Memphis Bar Association (MBA) selected Stanton for its Sam A. Myar Jr. Award in 2005. Bestowed for outstanding legal and community service, it’s the highest honor the MBA bestows annually on a lawyer under the age of 40. Stanton was 33.

A family man, Stanton and his wife have two children.