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
City of Knoxville, Tenn. v. Netflix, Inc.  
Date: November 22, 2022
Docket Number: M2021-01107-SC-R23-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court answered a question of law certified by the district court in the negative, holding that two video streaming services - Netflix, Inc. and Hulu, LLC - did not provide "video service" within the meaning…

In Re: Joseph H. Crabtree, Jr., BPR #011451
Date: November 22, 2022
Docket Number: M2022-00339-SC-BAR-BP
State of Tennessee v. Tyshon Booker (Dissent)
Date: November 18, 2022
Docket Number: E2018-01439-SC-R11-CD
State v. Bristol  
Date: October 7, 2022
Docket Number: M2019-00531-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of criminal appeals reversing Defendant's convictions and remanding the case for a new trial based on a purported problem with the jury instructions that had not been…

State v. Enix  
Date: September 13, 2022
Docket Number: E2020-00231-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of criminal appeals affirming Defendant's conviction of premeditated first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery, holding that Defendant was not entitled to…

State v. Deberry  
Date: August 30, 2022
Docket Number: W2019-01666-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court held that a statute that repeals a criminal offense does not "provide for a lesser penalty" within the meaning of the criminal savings statute, but rather, a person who commits an offense that is later…

Shaw v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville  
Date: August 18, 2022
Docket Number: M2019-01926-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the lower courts in this appeal addressing mootness when a law challenged in the trial court is altered or amended after the trial court issued its final judgment and while the…

Donovan v. Hastings  
Date: June 27, 2022
Docket Number: M2019-01396-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals upholding that trial court's determination that the plaintiff homeowner's award of attorneys fees and costs under Tenn. Code Ann. 20-12-119(c) was limited…

Newsom v. Tennessee Republican Party  
Date: June 10, 2022
Docket Number: M2022-00735-SC-R10-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: Starbuck filed a nominating petition seeking to be placed on the ballot for the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District for the U.S. House of Representatives. The Tennessee Republican Party, through…

Phillips v. State of Tennessee  
Date: June 10, 2022
Docket Number: W2019-01927-SC-R11-PC

Justia Opinion Summary: Phillips was convicted of offenses, including felony murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping, and especially aggravated burglary. The Court of Criminal Appeals modified…

State v. Linville  
Date: June 1, 2022
Docket Number: W2019-02180-SC-R11-CD

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the trial court convicting and sentencing Defendant for multiple drug offenses that occurred in a drug-free zone within 1,000 feet of a city park, holding that the offenses…

Recipient of Final Expunction Order v. Rausch  
Date: May 27, 2022
Docket Number: M2021-00438-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme Court held that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) lacked the authority to refuse to comply with a final expungement order issued by the trial court. After Plaintiff…

Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County v. Tennessee Department of Education  
Date: May 18, 2022
Docket Number: M2020-00683-SC-R11-CV

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case concerning a constitutional challenge to the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program (the ESA Act), Tenn. Code Ann. 49-6-2601, the Supreme Court held that the ESA Act does not implicate the Home…

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.