Nixon earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and served in the U.S. Army before earning his law degree at Vanderbilt in 1960. He practiced law in Anniston, Alabama, for two years and then served as Anniston’s city attorney for two years before joining the CIvil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1964.
After returning to private practice, he served as a staff attorney in Tennessee’s Office of the State Comptroller from 1971 to 1976, when he moved to Nashville to practice law.
Nixon served as a Tennessee Circuit Court judge from 1977 to 1978 and then as a judge in the Tennessee Court of General Sessions from 1978 to 1980 before he was appointed to a seat on the Middle District of Tennessee in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. He served as the district’s chief judge from 1991 to 1998, when he took senior status. He took inactive senior status in 2016.
Judge Nixon is survived by two daughters.