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Life After Congress: Ed Bryant

When members lose an election or retire from Congress, they often embark on a new path instead of merely riding off into the sunset. Some take on lucrative roles on K Street, lobbying the same body in which they used to work. Others head back to their home states to re-enter the careers they left when they headed to Washington, or to find new ones. As a host of members begin planning for their lives after Congress this January, Roll Call is launching a new feature to let readers know “where are they now?” If that’s a question you’ve asked yourself about a former member or members, drop us a line. We’ll do our best to track them down.

With a long career in law before his eight-year stint on the Hill, it’s only fitting that former Rep. Ed Bryant landed on the bench after his time in Congress ended in 2003.

The Tennessee Republican was sworn in as a magistrate judge in the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on Dec. 15, 2008, and continues to serve in the role today.

He was nominated for the position by President George W. Bush.

But don’t let the yearslong lapse between when he left Congress and set up shop in the judicial branch fool you: Bryant kept busy in those five years.

After losing a 2002 Senate bid in the GOP primary for the open seat vacated by Republican Fred Thompson — the loss that booted him from Congress — Bryant returned to Tennessee to work at Waldrop and Hall, the law firm he practiced at as a partner before his time in Washington.

He caught the congressional bug again in 2005, when he decided to make a bid for the Senate seat being vacated by then-Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Bryant’s second Senate run was also unsuccessful.

He lost the GOP primary for the open seat to Bob Corker, who went on to win the general election and still holds the seat.

Bryant made his mark in Congress as part of the 13-person team of Judiciary Committee members who argued for President Bill Clinton’s removal from office during the 1999 Senate impeachment trial.

Before his four terms in Congress, he taught constitutional law at West Point and served as U.S. attorney of the Western District of Tennessee, a position he was nominated to by President George H.W. Bush, father of the man who put him on the bench.

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