Tennessee Supreme Court Decisions

Under the Tennessee Constitution, the Tennessee Supreme Court hears appeals in Nashville, Jackson, and Knoxville, as well as other cities if needed. It reviews appeals of both civil and criminal cases from courts such as the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. If one of the lower appellate courts fails to reach a decision in an emergency situation, the Supreme Court may assume jurisdiction and decide the case. In addition, the Court may review cases that pose constitutional questions, cases that involve state tax rules, and cases that relate to the right to hold public office. The Court consists of five justices, each of whom serves a term of eight years.

Article 8-18-101 of the Tennessee Constitution provides specific requirements for a prospective justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court. In addition to meeting these requirements, a candidate must be at least 35 years old and must be licensed to practice law in Tennessee. They must have been a resident of the state for at least five years. The Governor of Tennessee appoints each new justice, and the Tennessee General Assembly must confirm each appointment. In the next general election after a justice is appointed, they must go through a retention election. If they are retained, they will need to go through another retention election at the end of their term to stay on the Court. This system has faced several legal challenges, but the Supreme Court has held that retention elections are constitutional. Only one justice has been removed or not retained under the current system.

The Chief Justice currently serves a term of two years, although this has varied during the history of the Court. The justices of the Court choose the Chief Justice, as provided by the Tennessee Constitution.

Browse Opinions From the Tennessee Supreme Court

Recent Decisions From the Tennessee Supreme Court
Crouch Railway Consulting, LLC v. LS Energy Fabrication, LLC  
Date: October 6, 2020
Docket Number: M2017-02540-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the chancery court dismissing this complaint against a Texas company for lack of personal jurisdiction, holding that the exercise...

Holland v. State  
Date: October 2, 2020
Docket Number: W2018-01517-SC-R11-PC

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals to remand this case and reinstated the post-conviction court's denial of Petitioner's petition for post-conviction relief, holding that the Court o...

Trent v. Mountain Commerce Bank  
Date: August 26, 2020
Docket Number: E2018-01874-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court and the court of appeals denying reformation of a quitclaim deed, holding that equitable reformation was not available when reformation would benefit parties wi...

Cook v. State  
Date: August 25, 2020
Docket Number: W2018-00237-SC-R11-PC

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court remanded this matter to the trial court for a new post-conviction hearing before different judge, holding that the post-conviction judge should have recused himself even though Petitioner failed to file...

Earle J. Fisher, Et Al. v. Tre Hargett, Et Al.
Date: August 5, 2020
Docket Number: M2020-00831-SC-RDM-CV
Lay v. Goins  
Date: August 5, 2020
Docket Numbers: M2020-00832-SC-RDM-CV, M2020-00831-SC-RDM-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that the trial court erred in issuing a temporary injunction enjoining the State from enforcing its current construction of the eligibility requirements for absentee voting stated in Tenn. Code Ann...

Howard v. State  
Date: July 16, 2020
Docket Number: W2018-00786-SC-R11-PC

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of criminal appeals concluding that Petitioner was entitled to postconviction relief based on trial counsel's failure to file a timely motion for new trial, holding th...

State v. Jarman  
Date: July 6, 2020
Docket Number: M2017-01313-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of criminal appeals reversing Defendant's conviction for voluntary manslaughter, holding that the trial court did not err in admitting acquitted-act evidence and that...

New v. Dumitrache  
Date: June 29, 2020
Docket Number: W2017-00776-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the judgment of the chancery court dismissing Plaintiff's appeal from an order of protection "in nature of writ of error," holding that the w...

Geller v. Henry County Board of Education  
Date: June 15, 2020
Docket Number: W2017-01678-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court upholding the transfer of a tenured teacher (Plaintiff), working as a school administrator, to a teaching position...

Keller v. Casteel  
Date: June 12, 2020
Docket Number: E2017-01020-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the court of appeals and the trial court that a municipality's personnel manual gave a firefighter a property interest entitled to due process protection, holding that Plaintif...

Jackson v. Burrell  
Date: June 12, 2020
Docket Number: W2018-00057-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the trial court's award of summary judgment to Defendant in this health care liability case, holding that Plaintiff did not have to present expert proof to establish her negligence claim, and th...

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.