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The '''Tennessee Supreme Court''' is the highest appellate court of the State of [[Tennessee]].  Unlike those of other states, the Tennessee Supreme Court is responsible for the appointment of the state attorney general.
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{{SSC infobox
 +
|Page = Tennessee Supreme Court
 +
|State = Tennessee
 +
|Category = Tennessee supreme court judges
 +
<!--Court Information-->
 +
|Justices = 5
 +
|Founded = 1870
 +
|Location = Jackson, Knoxville, and Nashville, [[Tennessee]]
 +
<!--Judicial Selection Information-->
 +
|Method = [[Assisted appointment]]
 +
|Term = 8 years
 +
}}
 +
{{tnr|limit=2}}
  
== Tennessee Supreme Court rulings on ballot measures ==
+
The '''Tennessee Supreme Court''' is the [[court of last resort]] in [[Tennessee]]. It interprets and applies Tennessee's laws and the [[Tennessee Constitution]]. The court is composed of five justices who serve for renewable eight-year terms. They are [[Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection|appointed to the court]] and face a [[retention election]] at the end of each term. The court generally meets in the cities of Jackson, Nashville and Knoxville in [[Tennessee]], as required by the [[Tennessee Constitution]], but it may also meet in other locations when needed.
  
{|class="wikitable" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5" border="1" background-color:white"
+
==Justices==
|-
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{{State Supreme Court judges DPL|State=Tennessee}}
! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Year
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! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Type
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! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Ballot measure
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! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Legal issue
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! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Plaintiff
+
! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Defendant
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! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Court ruling
+
! style="background-color:#cedff2" | Impact
+
  
|-valign="top"
+
Four of the five current justices on the court were [[Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection|appointed]] by [[Democratic]] Governor {{BP|Phil Bredesen}}.
| - || - || - || - || - || - || - || -
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 +
===Chief justice===
 +
The current chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court is [[Sharon Lee]]. She took over the position on September 1, 2014, from Justice [[Gary R. Wade]]. Wade was appointed to the office in September 2012 to succeed former Justice [[Janice Holder]], the state's first female chief justice. According to the [[Tennessee Constitution]], the justices of the supreme court select the chief justice.<ref>[http://www.tncourts.gov/news/2014/08/14/justice-sharon-lee-elected-chief-justice-tennessee-supreme-court ''TNCourts.gov'', "JUSTICE SHARON LEE ELECTED CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT," August 14, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
==Judicial selection==
 +
Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court are appointed by the governor of [[Tennessee]]. The justice, after serving an eight-year term, can then be retained by a retention vote for another term.
 +
 
 +
===Qualifications===
 +
A qualified candidate for the Tennessee Supreme Court is one who meets the requirements set out in Article 8-18-101 of the Tennessee Constitution. The person must be at least 35 years old and have been a resident of Tennessee for at least five years. He or she must also be an attorney licensed to practice law in the state.<ref>[http://www.bradleyelections.com/images/Candidate/Qualify%20Candidate.pdf ''Bradley County Election Commission'', "Bradley Elections: Tennessee Qualifications," accessed September 2, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
==Jurisdiction==
 +
The court hears appeals of civil and criminal cases from lower state courts, such as the [[Tennessee Court of Appeals]] and the [[Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals]]. The supreme court may assume jurisdiction over undecided cases in the court of appeals or court of criminal appeals when a decision is needed on an emergency basis. The court also has appellate jurisdiction in cases involving state taxes, the right to hold public office, and issues of constitutional law.<ref>[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/courts/supreme-court ''TNCourts.gov'', "Supreme Court," accessed December 15, 2014]</ref>
 +
 
 +
===Caseloads===
 +
<table width="100%"><tr><td width="70%">
 +
{{SSC caseload
 +
|2014Filings=1,198
 +
|2014Dispositions=1,153
 +
|2013Filings=1180''*''
 +
|2013Dispositions=1,127''*''
 +
|2012Filings=1,052
 +
|2012Dispositions=1,118
 +
|2011Filings=1,195
 +
|2011Dispositions=1,228
 +
|2010Filings=1,094
 +
|2010Dispositions=1,120
 +
|2009Filings=1,086
 +
|2009Dispositions=1,106
 +
|2008Filings=1,086
 +
|2008Dispositions=1,030
 +
|2007Filings=1,089
 +
|2007Dispositions=1,268
 +
}}<ref>[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/media/statistical-reports ''TNCourts.gov'', "Annual Statistical Reports," accessed September 2, 2014] ''See "Cases for Decision"''</ref></td></tr></table>
 +
<nowiki>''*''</nowiki>''The Annual Report for fiscal year 2012-2013 provided different statistics than previous years. The filings and disposition numbers for 2013 come from the "Clearance Rate" section of the report and reflects every filing the supreme court received during fiscal year 2012-2013. Additionally, the disposition total includes opinions, orders and denials of discretionary requests for appeals.''
 +
 
 +
==Elections==
 +
<h3 style="font-size:120%; text-align:center; background-color: #73b97c; width:600px"> 2014 </h3>
 +
{{2014 elections DPL|State=Tennessee|Court=Supreme Court|Position=Retention}}
 +
:''See also: [[Tennessee judicial elections, 2014]]''
 +
:''See also: [[Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014]]''
 +
<table class="collapsible collapsed" style="width:600px; collapsible=Y;">
 +
<tr><th style="font-size:120%; text-align:center; background-color: #73b97c;"> 2010 </th></tr>
 +
<tr><td>
 +
[[Sharon Lee]] faced retention and was retained.
 +
:''See also: [[2010 State Supreme Court elections]]''
 +
{{Electionbox |
 +
  office = Tennessee Supreme Court <br> 2010 General election results
 +
}}
 +
|-
 +
| colspan="2" |  '''Sharon Lee''' {{won}}
 +
| align="right" | '''n/a'''
 +
| align="center" | '''68.2%'''
 +
|-
 +
|}
 +
</td></tr></table>
 +
<table class="collapsible collapsed" style="width:600px; collapsible=Y;">
 +
<tr><th style="font-size:120%; text-align:center; background-color: #73b97c;"> 2008 </th></tr>
 +
<tr><td>
 +
[[William Koch, Jr.]] faced retention and was retained.
 +
:''See also: [[State Supreme Court elections, 2008]]''
 +
{{Electionbox |
 +
  office = Tennessee Supreme Court <br> 2008 General election results
 +
}}
 +
|-
 +
| colspan="2" |  '''William Koch, Jr.''' {{won}}
 +
| align="right" | '''n/a'''
 +
| align="center" | '''n/a'''
 +
|-
 
|}
 
|}
 +
</td></tr></table>
  
==Structure==
+
==Political outlook==
The current [[Tennessee Constitution|constitution of the State of Tennessee]], adopted in 1870, calls for five justices, of which at least one but not more than two must be from each of the state's three Grand Divisions (East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and West Tennessee) in order to prevent regional bias.  
+
::''See also: [[Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices]]''
 +
{{State Court CFscore|State=[[Tennessee]]|Score=-0.02|rank=23rd|lean=L}}
  
Additionally, the court is required to meet in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson, also to prevent regional bias. In recent years this provision has been regarded as permissive rather than restrictive, and the court has also met in other cities throughout the state as part of a legal education project for high school students.
+
==Notable decisions==
 +
==="Tennessee Plan" litigation===
 +
[[File:TNSCcourthouse.JPG|200px|left|thumb|''Tennessee Supreme Court'']]
 +
The "Tennessee Plan," wherein judges are appointed by the governor, has been challenged in court several times. In the case of ''Higgins v. Dunn'' (1973), the Tennessee Supreme Court held that retention elections were constitutional, as the Constitution did not specify what type of elections the General Assembly had to enact for electing judges.  Justice Allison Humphries, in dissent, opined that the supreme court justices approving the constitutionality of the Modified Missouri Plan had, "like Esau, sold their soul for a mess of pottage" and made the judicial branch subordinate to the legislative branch. The plan was again challenged in the case of ''DeLaney v. Thompson'' (1998). The plaintiffs in that case argued that the process was not an "election" in the sense envisioned by the writers of the state constitution, and that the court in ''Higgins v. Dunn'' was too close to the issue when it issued its decision. ''DeLaney v. Thompson'' was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, at which time the whole court was forced to recuse itself. The special supreme court appointed by the governor to hear the case, however, refused to rule on the constitutionality of the plan, and instead remanded the case on a technicality.<ref>[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/TSC/PDF/984/delaney.pdf ''Robert L. Delaney vs. Brook Thompson'', 01S01-9808-CH-00144 (Tenn. 1998)]</ref>
  
The justices serve eight-year terms and can succeed themselves; the office of chief justice rotates among themJustices are required to recuse themselves in cases in which they may have a personal interest; the whole court once had to step aside and a case be heard by a special court appointed by the governor, this occurring when the court itself became the subject of litigation, described below.
+
====Effect of the "Tennessee Plan"====
 +
Only one member of the Tennessee Supreme Court has ever failed to be retained, or removed from the bench, under the "Tennessee Plan." Former Justice Penny White was removed in 1996. The campaign against her was reminiscent of that used a few years prior in California against former Chief Justice Rose Bird, and for largely the same reason:  White's seeming eagerness to overturn a capital sentence based on personal opposition to the death penalty.<ref>[http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1018&context=njlsp ''Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy'', "A Penny for the Court's Thoughts? The High Price of Judicial Elections by Bronson D. Bills," Winter 2008]</ref>
  
The Tennessee Supreme Court has no original jurisdiction.  Other than in cases of worker's compensation, which have traditionally been appealed directly to it from the trial court, it only hears appeals of civil cases which have been heard by the Court of Appeals, and of criminal cases that have been heard by the Court of Criminal Appeals.
+
====Holder opposes elections====
 +
Former Chief Justice [[Janice Holder]] stated publicly in 2008 that she and her colleagues at the time on the supreme court were unanimous in support of maintaining the state’s current system of selecting its appellate court judges.  Republican leaders in the state legislature  argued that the current "Tennessee Plan" violates the state constitution, which provides that "[t]he judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state."  Despite the Plan's constitutionally questionable nature, Holder stated:
  
== Judicial selection ==
+
{{quote|'''"This court is not in favor of partisan election in which judges are obligated to raise millions of dollars for campaigns.'''  This court is in favor of the current principles that comprise the Tennessee Plan."<ref>[http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/sep/03/state-supreme-court-wants-keep-retention-system/ ''The Commercial Appeal'', "State Supreme Court wants to keep retention system," September 3, 2008]</ref>}}
===Legislative appointment===
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The method by which Tennessee's supreme court justices are selected has changed significantly over the years. Originally, justices were elected by the [[Tennessee General Assembly]] and held lifetime tenures.  
+
  
===Election===
+
===Anna Mae He case===
In 1853, the [[Tennessee Constitution|state constitution]] was amended to set judicial term lengths at eight years, the length at which they remain, and to provide that all judges (including supreme court justices) would be elected by the people. Under this arrangement, a justice could enter office either through gubernatorial appointment (to fill a vacancy) or by winning a partisan election. Either way, the justice would have to stand for re-election during the next general state election.
+
{{#ev:youtube|8MUe_ft7QfA|400|right}}
 +
Tennessee made international news in the early 2000s when foster parents Jerry and Louise Baker fought biological parents Jack and Cindy He for custody of Anna Mae. The Hes, Chinese citizens residing in the United States on visas, were unable to financially care for Anna Mae and sought help from Mid-South Christian Services, which placed the baby with the Bakers. The placement was intended to be for just three months but was later extended as the Hes remained unable to care for Anna Mae. The two couples reached an agreement that gave temporary custody to the Bakers but did not terminate the parental rights of the Hes. In addition to the written agreement, the Bakers claimed in court that the Hes orally agreed to allow the Bakers to retain custody of Anna Mae until she graduated high school. The Hes denied this and claimed that the custody arrangement was to be temporary only.
  
===Retention elections===
+
When the Hes attempted to regain custody of Anna Mae once they were able to care for her, the Bakers refused and eventually filed a petition for adoption. The Bakers claimed the Hes willfully abandoned Anna Mae. A court battle erupted, leading all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The high court reversed a lower court's termination of the Hes' parental rights and ordered that the little girl be returned to her biological parents. In its opinion, the supreme court held that biological parents had "superior parental rights" which trump all other claims of custody of a child.
In 1971, a statute was passed that modified this process at the appellate level. Under the Modified [[Missouri Plan]], appellate judges (including supreme court justices) would only be subjected to a "Yes/No" retention vote rather than partisan opponents. Thus it became impossible to become an appellate judge without being appointed by the governor.  
+
  
In 1974, supreme court justices were removed from the Modified Missouri Plan, but in 1994 the plan was revised and once again extended to supreme court justices. The plan was also renamed the Tennessee Plan at that time. See ''Tennessee Code, Annotated'' article 67.
+
The Bakers asked the [[United States Supreme Court]] to step in and stay the Tennessee Supreme Court order to return custody, but their request was denied.<ref>[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/OPINIONS/TSC/PDF/071/AMHOPN.pdf ''Tennessee Supreme Court'', "In Re: Adoption of A.M.H.," January 23, 2007]</ref>
  
===Litigation===
+
As a result of this case, the {{BP|Tennessee General Assembly}} passed legislation known as the "Anna Mae He Act." In it, the legislature attempted to better define terms such as "willfully failed to support" and "willfully failed to visit," both of which were at issue in the epic court case. The bill was sponsored by {{BP|G.A._Hardaway|G.A. Hardaway}}, a state representative from Memphis where the Bakers and Hes lived.<ref>[http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2007/may/14/anna-mae-he-act-making-way-through-general-assembly/ ''Memphis Daily News'', "Anna Mae He Act Making Way Through General Assembly," May 14, 2007]</ref>
This method of judicial selection has been challenged in court several times. In the case of ''Higgins v. Dunn'' (1973), the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the retention elections were constitutional, as the constitution did not specify what type of elections the General Assembly had to enact for electing judges.
+
  
This decision, however, was contentious. Justice Allison Humphries, in his dissent, opined that the supreme court justices approving the constitutionality of the Modified Missouri Plan had, "like Esau, sold their soul for a mess of pottage" and had made the judicial branch subordinate to the legislative branch.  
+
==Ethics==
 +
===Judicial conduct===
 +
The '''Code of Judicial Conduct''' sets forth ethical guidelines and principles for the conduct of judges and judicial candidates in [[Tennessee]]. It consists of four overarching canons:
  
The revised Tennessee Plan was challenged in the case of ''DeLaney v. Thompson'' (1998). The plaintiffs argued that the process was not an "election" in the sense envisioned by the writers of the state constitution, and that the court in ''Higgins v. Dunn'' had been incompetent to render a decision due to their interest in the subject matter of the case. ''DeLaney v. Thompson'' was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, at which time the whole court was forced to recuse itself.  
+
*'''Canon 1:''' "A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety."
 +
*'''Canon 2:''' "A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently."
 +
*'''Canon 3:''' "A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office."
 +
*'''Canon 4:''' "A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary." <ref>[http://www.tncourts.gov/rules/supreme-court/10#CANON%202 ''TNCourts.gov'', "Rule 10: Code of Judicial Conduct," accessed May 15, 2014]</ref>
  
The special Supreme Court appointed by the [[governor]] to hear this case, however, refused to rule on the constitutionality of the Tennessee Plan, and instead remanded the case on a technicality.<ref>''[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/OPINIONS/TSC/PDF/984/delaney.pdf Robert L. Delaney vs. Brook Thompson]'', 01S01-9808-CH-00144 (Tenn. 1998).</ref>
+
The full text of [[Tennessee]]'s '''Code of Judicial Conduct''' can be found [http://www.tncourts.gov/rules/supreme-court/10#CANON%202 here]
  
===Effect of the Tennessee Plan===
+
===Financial disclosure===
As of 2005, only one member of the Tennessee Supreme Court has ever been removed under the Tennessee Plan. Former Justice Penny White was removed in 1996 in a campaign reminiscient of that used a few years prior in [[California]] against former Chief Justice Rose Bird, and for largely the same reason:  White's apparent opposition to the death penalty.
+
{{Disclosure report|State=Tennessee|Grade=F}}
  
== Current composition ==
+
==History of the court==
 
+
[[Image:TNSC pic.jpg ‎|thumb|300px|Current Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court: (seated) Chief Justice [[Sharon Lee]] and standing (left to right) Justice [[Holly M. Kirby]], Justice [[Jeffrey S. Bivins]], Justice [[Gary R. Wade]], and [[Cornelia Clark]]]]
As of June 15, 2007, the justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court were:
+
  
{| class="wikitable"
+
The Tennessee Constitution of 1870 requires the court of five justices to meet in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson. These cities were the largest in each of the three sections of the state--East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee--in 1870. Having the court meet in all three sections is meant to represent all citizens of the state and to prevent regional bias. At least one justice, but no more than two justices, must be from one of the three sections of the state.<ref>[http://www.tncrimlaw.com/law/constit/VI.html ''TNCrimlaw.com'', "Tennessee Constitution - Judicial Department," accessed December 18, 2014]</ref>
! Name
+
 
! Born
+
===Former justices===
! Birthplace
+
This exhaustive list provides the names of the judges of the Southwest Territory (1790-1796), the district or superior court judges (1796-1809), the judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals (1810-1833) and the Supreme Court judges under the Tennessee constitutions of 1834 and 1870. Several counties in the state of Tennessee were named after judges on this list. Additionally, Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States and a lawyer by trade, served on the Tennessee Supreme Court for six-years prior to his foray into national politics. ''Note: Not all term end dates are available.''<ref>[http://www.tschsociety.org/justices.html ''Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society'', "Justices," accessed December 17, 2014]</ref>
! Appointed By
+
<center><table width="60%" class="wikitable collapsible collapsed" style="text-align:center">
! Beginning of Active Service
+
<tr><td style="text-align:center; font-size:100%; background-color:#F2F2F2">'''All former justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court:'''<ref>[http://www.tschsociety.org/justices.html ''Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society'', "Alphabetical List of Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court," accessed December 17, 2014]</ref></td><th style="text-align:right"><small>''click for list →''</small></th></tr>
|-
+
<tr><th>Name:</th><th>Dates served:</th></tr>
| '''[[judgepedia:Gary Wade|Gary Wade]]'''
+
<tr><td>Willie Blount</td><td>1796</td></tr>
| May 31, 1948
+
<tr><td>Horace H. Harrison</td><td>1868</td></tr>
| Knox County, Tennessee
+
<tr><td>A.D. Bright</td><td>1894</td></tr>
| Phil Bredesen
+
<tr><td>Francis Fentress</td><td>1918</td></tr>
| May 30, 2006
+
<tr><td>George H. Brown, Jr.</td><td>1980</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>David Campbell</td><td>1790-1796</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John McNairy</td><td>1790-1796</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Joseph Inslee Anderson</td><td>1791-1796</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William C. Claiborne</td><td>1796-1797</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Archibald Roane</td><td>1796-1801; 1815-1819</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Howell Tatum</td><td>1797-1798</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Andrew Jackson</td><td>1798-1804</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Hugh Lawson White</td><td>1801-1807</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John Overton</td><td>1804-1810</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Thomas Emmerson</td><td>1807-1809</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Parry W. Humphreys</td><td>1807-1809</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Samuel Powell</td><td>1807-1809</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>George Washington Campbell</td><td>1809-1811</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William Wilcox Cooke</td><td>1815-1816</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John Haywood</td><td>1816-1826</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Robert Whyte</td><td>1816-1834</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William Little Brown</td><td>1822-1824</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Jacob Peck</td><td>1822-1834</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John Catron</td><td>1824-1831</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Thomas L. Williams</td><td>1826-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Henry Crabb</td><td>1826-1827</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Nathan Green</td><td>1831-1852</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William B. Reese</td><td>1835-1847</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William b. Turley</td><td>1835-1850</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Robert J. McKinney</td><td>1847-1861</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Archibald W.O. Totten</td><td>1850-1855</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Robert Looney Caruthers</td><td>1852-1861</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William R. Harris</td><td>1855-1858</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Archibald Wright</td><td>1858-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William Frierson Cooper</td><td>1861-1886</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Samuel Milligan</td><td>1864-1868</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Alvin Hawkins</td><td>1865-1868; 1869-1870</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>James O. Shackleford</td><td>1865-1868</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Henry G. Smith</td><td>1867-1870</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Horace Maynard<ref>[http://www.tba.org/journal/horace-maynard-the-tennessee-supreme-court-judge-who-wasn-t ''Tennessee Bar Association'', "Horace Maynard: The Tennessee Supreme Court Judge Who Wasn’t," September 7, 2011]</ref></td><td>1868-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>George Andrews</td><td>1868-1870</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Andrew McClain</td><td>1869-1871</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Thomas A.R. Nelson</td><td>1870-1871</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Alfred O.P. Nicholson</td><td>1870-1876</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John L.T. Sneed</td><td>1870-1878</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>James W. Deaderick</td><td>1870-1886</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Thomas J. Freeman</td><td>1870-1886</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Peter Turney</td><td>1870-1893</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Robert McFarland</td><td>1871-1882</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>James Burch Cooke</td><td>1884-1886</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>David L. Snodgrass</td><td>1886-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William C. Folkes</td><td>1886-1890</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>[[Horace Harmon Lurton]]</td><td>1886-1893</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Waller C. Caldwell</td><td>1886-1902</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Benjamin J. Lea</td><td>1890-1894</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John Summerfield Wilkes</td><td>1893-1908</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William K. McAlister</td><td>1893-1910</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John Knight Shields</td><td>1902-1913</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Matthew M. Neil</td><td>1902-1918</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Bennett Douglas Bell</td><td>1908-1910</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Arthur S. Buchanan</td><td>1910-1917</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>D.L. Lansden</td><td>1910-1923</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Grafton Green</td><td>1910-1947</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Samuel Cole Williams</td><td>1913-1918</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Nathan Lynn Bachman</td><td>1918-1923</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Frank P. Hall</td><td>1918-1926</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William Loch Cook</td><td>1923-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Alexander W. Chambliss</td><td>1923-1947</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William H. Swiggart</td><td>1926-1934</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>David William Dehaven</td><td>1935-1943</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Alan Prewitt</td><td>1937; 1941-1941; 1942-1963</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>A.B. Neil</td><td>1942-1960</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Frank H. Gailor</td><td>1943-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Pride Tomlinson</td><td>1947-1961</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Hamilton S. Burnett</td><td>1947-1973</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>John E. Swepston</td><td>1954-1961</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Sam L. Felts</td><td>1960-1964</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Weldon B. White</td><td>1961-1967</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Ross W. Dyer</td><td>1961-1974</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Andrew O. Holmes</td><td>1963-1965</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Chester C. Chattin</td><td>1965-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Larry Barkley Creson</td><td>1965-1972</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William J. Harbison</td><td>1966-1967; 1974-1990</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Allison B. Humphreys</td><td>1967-1974</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>George McCanless</td><td>1969-</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William H.D. Fones</td><td>1973-1990</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Joe W. Henry</td><td>1974-1980</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Ray L. Brock, Jr.</td><td>1974-1987</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Robert E. Cooper</td><td>1974-1990</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Frank F. Drowota, III</td><td>1980-2005</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>William Dwight Beard</td><td>1890, 1984-1910</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Charles H. O'Brien</td><td>1987-1994</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>[[Martha Daughtrey|Martha Craig Daughtrey]]</td><td>1990-1993</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Lyle Reid</td><td>1990-1998</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>E. Riley Anderson</td><td>1990-2006</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Adolpho A. Birch, Jr.</td><td>1993-2006</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>Penny J. White</td><td>1994-1996</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>[[Janice Holder]]</td><td>1996-2014</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>[[William Barker|William M. Barker]]</td><td>1998-2008</td></tr>
 +
<tr><td>[[William Koch|William C. Koch, Jr.]]</td><td>2007-2014</td></tr>
 +
</table></center>
 +
 
 +
===Video interviews with retired justices===
 +
The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society interviewed nine former justices as part of its effort to "ensur[e] the records and history of the Tennessee Supreme Court and the other courts of Tennessee were not only preserved but also accessible to the citizens of our State."<ref>[http://www.tschsociety.org/ ''Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society'']</ref> These interviews were recorded and made available online.
 +
 
 +
{|
 +
|----- valign="left"
 +
|
 +
{{#ev:youtube|CedZLdAuSCM|250|left|Retired Justice Frank F. Drowota, III}}
 +
|
 +
{{#ev:youtube|CedZLdAuSCM|250|left|Retired Justice William Muecke Barker}}
 +
|
 +
{{#ev:youtube|poJaoT87avU|250|left|Retired Justice Penny J. White}}
 
|-
 
|-
| '''[[judgepedia:Cornelia Clark|Corneila Clark]]'''
+
|
| September 15, 1950
+
{{#ev:youtube|pVYJ143vF-4|250|left|Retired Justice George H. Brown, Jr.}}
| Franklin, Tennessee
+
|
| Phil Bredesen
+
{{#ev:youtube|L19D8o5sDPM|250|left|Retired Justice E. Riley Anderson, II}}
| September 19, 2005
+
|
 +
{{#ev:youtube|fmCyxPeH9qQ|250|left|Retired Justice Robert E. Cooper}}
 
|-
 
|-
| '''[[judgepedia:William Barker|William Barker]] (Chief Justice)'''
+
|
| September 13, 1941
+
{{#ev:youtube|NVpbT69jMpk|250|left|Retired Justice [[Martha Daughtrey|Martha Craig Daughtrey]]}}
| Chattanooga, Tennessee
+
|
| Don Sundquist
+
{{#ev:youtube|b8bVw5LHtaE|250|left|Retired Justice Lyle Reed}}
| April 1998
+
|
|-
+
{{#ev:youtube|aukPUqop69A|250|left|Retired Justice Adolpho A. Birch}}
| '''[[judgepedia:Janice Holder|Janice Holder]]'''
+
| August 29, 1949
+
| Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
+
| Don Sundquist
+
| December 1996
+
|-
+
| '''[[judgepedia:William Koch Jr|William Koch, Jr.]]'''
+
| September 12, 1947
+
| Honolulu, Hawaii
+
| Phil Bredesen
+
| June 15, 2007
+
 
|}
 
|}
  
==References==
+
==See also==
*[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Supreme_Court Wikipedia article on the Tennessee Supreme Court]
+
*[[Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice A.A. Birch died at 78|'''News:''' Former Tennessee Supreme Court Justice A.A. Birch died at 78]], ''August 31, 2011''
*[http://www.ajs.org/js/TN.htm Judicial Selection in the States: Tennessee] (accessed September 20, 2005)
+
*[[Tennessee Supreme Court rules against Nissan North America in workers compensation case|'''News:''' Tennessee Supreme Court rules against Nissan North America in workers compensation case]], ''August 15, 2011''
*[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/geninfo/Bio/Supreme/Biosc.htm Supreme Court Information and Biographies] (accessed September 20, 2005)
+
*[[Tennessee state courts adopt new ethics code|'''News:''' Tennessee state courts adopt new ethics code]], ''January 13, 2011''
*[http://state.tn.us/sos/bluebook/05-06/32-supreme_court.pdf Supreme Court] in the Tennessee Blue Book (pdf)
+
{{reflist}}
+
  
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
*[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/ Official site]
+
*[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/ ''TN Courts.gov'', "Tennessee State Courts System"]
 +
*[http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/courts/supreme-court/justices ''TN Courts.gov'', "Supreme Court Justices Information and Biographies"]
 +
*[http://www.tschsociety.org/ ''Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society'']
 +
*[http://state.tn.us/sos/bluebook/05-06/32-supreme_court.pdf ''TN.gov'', "Tennessee Blue Book, Supreme Court Justices"]
 +
*[https://web.archive.org/web/20140911001852/http://www.judicialselection.us/judicial_selection/index.cfm?state=TN ''American Judicature Society'', "Judicial selection in the States: Tennessee," archived September 11, 2014]
 +
*[http://www.bradleyelections.com/images/Candidate/Qualify%20Candidate.pdf ''Bradley Elections.com'', "Qualifications for Elected Offices"]
 +
 
 +
==References==
 +
{{reflist|2}}
 +
 
 +
{{Tennessee}}
 +
{{Tennessee Supreme Court}}
 +
{{State supreme courts}}
  
[[Category:Tennessee]]
+
[[Category:Tennessee supreme court]]
[[Category:State supreme courts]]
+
[[category:state supreme courts]]
 +
[[category:Judicial appointment through commission]]
 +
[[category:Judicial retention elections]]
 +
__NOTOC__

Latest revision as of 14:16, 14 April 2015

Tennessee Supreme Court
200pxSSCBadgeforVNT.png
Court information
Justices:   5
Founded:   1870
Location:   Jackson, Knoxville, and Nashville, Tennessee
Salary
Chief:  $182,000
Associates:  $177,000
Judicial selection
Method:   Assisted appointment
Term:   8 years
Active justices

Cornelia Clark  •  Gary R. Wade  •  Sharon Lee  •  Holly Kirby  •  Jeff Bivins  •  

Seal of Tennessee.png

The Tennessee Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Tennessee. It interprets and applies Tennessee's laws and the Tennessee Constitution. The court is composed of five justices who serve for renewable eight-year terms. They are appointed to the court and face a retention election at the end of each term. The court generally meets in the cities of Jackson, Nashville and Knoxville in Tennessee, as required by the Tennessee Constitution, but it may also meet in other locations when needed.

Justices

The current justices of the court are:
JudgeTermSelected by
Justice Cornelia Clark2005-2022Gov. Phil Bredesen
Justice Gary R. Wade2006-2022Gov. Phil Bredesen
Chief justice Sharon Lee2009-2022Gov. Phil Bredesen
Justice Holly Kirby2014-2016Gov. Bill Haslam
Justice Jeff Bivins2014-2016Gov. Bill Haslam


Four of the five current justices on the court were appointed by Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen.

Chief justice

The current chief justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court is Sharon Lee. She took over the position on September 1, 2014, from Justice Gary R. Wade. Wade was appointed to the office in September 2012 to succeed former Justice Janice Holder, the state's first female chief justice. According to the Tennessee Constitution, the justices of the supreme court select the chief justice.[1]

Judicial selection

Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court are appointed by the governor of Tennessee. The justice, after serving an eight-year term, can then be retained by a retention vote for another term.

Qualifications

A qualified candidate for the Tennessee Supreme Court is one who meets the requirements set out in Article 8-18-101 of the Tennessee Constitution. The person must be at least 35 years old and have been a resident of Tennessee for at least five years. He or she must also be an attorney licensed to practice law in the state.[2]

Jurisdiction

The court hears appeals of civil and criminal cases from lower state courts, such as the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. The supreme court may assume jurisdiction over undecided cases in the court of appeals or court of criminal appeals when a decision is needed on an emergency basis. The court also has appellate jurisdiction in cases involving state taxes, the right to hold public office, and issues of constitutional law.[3]

Caseloads

Fiscal Year Filings Dispositions
2014 1,198 1,153
2013 1180* 1,127*
2012 1,052 1,118
2011 1,195 1,228
2010 1,094 1,120
2009 1,086 1,106
2008 1,086 1,030
2007 1,089 1,268
[4]

''*''The Annual Report for fiscal year 2012-2013 provided different statistics than previous years. The filings and disposition numbers for 2013 come from the "Clearance Rate" section of the report and reflects every filing the supreme court received during fiscal year 2012-2013. Additionally, the disposition total includes opinions, orders and denials of discretionary requests for appeals.

Elections

2014

Retention
JudgeElection Vote
LeeSharon LeeApprovedA56.0%   ApprovedA
WadeGary R. WadeApprovedA56.6%   ApprovedA
ClarkCornelia ClarkApprovedA55.3%   ApprovedA
See also: Tennessee judicial elections, 2014
See also: Tennessee Supreme Court elections, 2014

Political outlook

See also: Political outlook of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan outlook of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 were more liberal. The state Supreme Court of Tennessee was given a campaign finance score (CFscore) which was calculated for judges in October 2012. At that time, Tennessee received a score of -0.02. Based on the justices selected, Tennessee was the 23rd most liberal court. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice but rather, an academic gauge of various factors.[5]

Notable decisions

"Tennessee Plan" litigation

Tennessee Supreme Court

The "Tennessee Plan," wherein judges are appointed by the governor, has been challenged in court several times. In the case of Higgins v. Dunn (1973), the Tennessee Supreme Court held that retention elections were constitutional, as the Constitution did not specify what type of elections the General Assembly had to enact for electing judges. Justice Allison Humphries, in dissent, opined that the supreme court justices approving the constitutionality of the Modified Missouri Plan had, "like Esau, sold their soul for a mess of pottage" and made the judicial branch subordinate to the legislative branch. The plan was again challenged in the case of DeLaney v. Thompson (1998). The plaintiffs in that case argued that the process was not an "election" in the sense envisioned by the writers of the state constitution, and that the court in Higgins v. Dunn was too close to the issue when it issued its decision. DeLaney v. Thompson was appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, at which time the whole court was forced to recuse itself. The special supreme court appointed by the governor to hear the case, however, refused to rule on the constitutionality of the plan, and instead remanded the case on a technicality.[6]

Effect of the "Tennessee Plan"

Only one member of the Tennessee Supreme Court has ever failed to be retained, or removed from the bench, under the "Tennessee Plan." Former Justice Penny White was removed in 1996. The campaign against her was reminiscent of that used a few years prior in California against former Chief Justice Rose Bird, and for largely the same reason: White's seeming eagerness to overturn a capital sentence based on personal opposition to the death penalty.[7]

Holder opposes elections

Former Chief Justice Janice Holder stated publicly in 2008 that she and her colleagues at the time on the supreme court were unanimous in support of maintaining the state’s current system of selecting its appellate court judges. Republican leaders in the state legislature argued that the current "Tennessee Plan" violates the state constitution, which provides that "[t]he judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state." Despite the Plan's constitutionally questionable nature, Holder stated:

"This court is not in favor of partisan election in which judges are obligated to raise millions of dollars for campaigns. This court is in favor of the current principles that comprise the Tennessee Plan."[8][9]

Anna Mae He case

Tennessee made international news in the early 2000s when foster parents Jerry and Louise Baker fought biological parents Jack and Cindy He for custody of Anna Mae. The Hes, Chinese citizens residing in the United States on visas, were unable to financially care for Anna Mae and sought help from Mid-South Christian Services, which placed the baby with the Bakers. The placement was intended to be for just three months but was later extended as the Hes remained unable to care for Anna Mae. The two couples reached an agreement that gave temporary custody to the Bakers but did not terminate the parental rights of the Hes. In addition to the written agreement, the Bakers claimed in court that the Hes orally agreed to allow the Bakers to retain custody of Anna Mae until she graduated high school. The Hes denied this and claimed that the custody arrangement was to be temporary only.

When the Hes attempted to regain custody of Anna Mae once they were able to care for her, the Bakers refused and eventually filed a petition for adoption. The Bakers claimed the Hes willfully abandoned Anna Mae. A court battle erupted, leading all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The high court reversed a lower court's termination of the Hes' parental rights and ordered that the little girl be returned to her biological parents. In its opinion, the supreme court held that biological parents had "superior parental rights" which trump all other claims of custody of a child.

The Bakers asked the United States Supreme Court to step in and stay the Tennessee Supreme Court order to return custody, but their request was denied.[10]

As a result of this case, the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation known as the "Anna Mae He Act." In it, the legislature attempted to better define terms such as "willfully failed to support" and "willfully failed to visit," both of which were at issue in the epic court case. The bill was sponsored by G.A. Hardaway, a state representative from Memphis where the Bakers and Hes lived.[11]

Ethics

Judicial conduct

The Code of Judicial Conduct sets forth ethical guidelines and principles for the conduct of judges and judicial candidates in Tennessee. It consists of four overarching canons:

  • Canon 1: "A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety."
  • Canon 2: "A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently."
  • Canon 3: "A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office."
  • Canon 4: "A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary." [12]

The full text of Tennessee's Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here

Financial disclosure

See also: Center for Public Integrity Study on State Supreme Court Disclosure Requirements

In December 2013, the Center for Public Integrity released a study on disclosure requirements for state supreme court judges. Analysts from the Center reviewed the rules governing financial disclosure in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as personal financial disclosures for the past three years. The study found that 42 states and Washington D.C. received failing grades. Tennessee earned a grade of F in the study. No state received a grade higher than "C". Furthermore, due in part to these lax disclosure standards, the study found 35 instances of questionable gifts, investments overlapping with caseloads and similar potential ethical quandaries. The study also noted 14 cases in which justices participated although they or their spouses held stock in the company involved in the litigation.[13]

History of the court

Current Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court: (seated) Chief Justice Sharon Lee and standing (left to right) Justice Holly M. Kirby, Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins, Justice Gary R. Wade, and Cornelia Clark

The Tennessee Constitution of 1870 requires the court of five justices to meet in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson. These cities were the largest in each of the three sections of the state--East Tennessee, Middle Tennessee and West Tennessee--in 1870. Having the court meet in all three sections is meant to represent all citizens of the state and to prevent regional bias. At least one justice, but no more than two justices, must be from one of the three sections of the state.[14]

Former justices

This exhaustive list provides the names of the judges of the Southwest Territory (1790-1796), the district or superior court judges (1796-1809), the judges of the Court of Errors and Appeals (1810-1833) and the Supreme Court judges under the Tennessee constitutions of 1834 and 1870. Several counties in the state of Tennessee were named after judges on this list. Additionally, Andrew Jackson, seventh president of the United States and a lawyer by trade, served on the Tennessee Supreme Court for six-years prior to his foray into national politics. Note: Not all term end dates are available.[15]

Video interviews with retired justices

The Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society interviewed nine former justices as part of its effort to "ensur[e] the records and history of the Tennessee Supreme Court and the other courts of Tennessee were not only preserved but also accessible to the citizens of our State."[18] These interviews were recorded and made available online.

Retired Justice Frank F. Drowota, III
Retired Justice William Muecke Barker
Retired Justice Penny J. White
Retired Justice George H. Brown, Jr.
Retired Justice E. Riley Anderson, II
Retired Justice Robert E. Cooper
Retired Justice Martha Craig Daughtrey
Retired Justice Lyle Reed
Retired Justice Adolpho A. Birch

See also

External links

References

  1. TNCourts.gov, "JUSTICE SHARON LEE ELECTED CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT," August 14, 2014
  2. Bradley County Election Commission, "Bradley Elections: Tennessee Qualifications," accessed September 2, 2014
  3. TNCourts.gov, "Supreme Court," accessed December 15, 2014
  4. TNCourts.gov, "Annual Statistical Reports," accessed September 2, 2014 See "Cases for Decision"
  5. Stanford University, "State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns," October 31, 2012
  6. Robert L. Delaney vs. Brook Thompson, 01S01-9808-CH-00144 (Tenn. 1998)
  7. Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy, "A Penny for the Court's Thoughts? The High Price of Judicial Elections by Bronson D. Bills," Winter 2008
  8. The Commercial Appeal, "State Supreme Court wants to keep retention system," September 3, 2008
  9. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  10. Tennessee Supreme Court, "In Re: Adoption of A.M.H.," January 23, 2007
  11. Memphis Daily News, "Anna Mae He Act Making Way Through General Assembly," May 14, 2007
  12. TNCourts.gov, "Rule 10: Code of Judicial Conduct," accessed May 15, 2014
  13. Center for Public Integrity, "State supreme court judges reveal scant financial information," December 5, 2013
  14. TNCrimlaw.com, "Tennessee Constitution - Judicial Department," accessed December 18, 2014
  15. Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, "Justices," accessed December 17, 2014
  16. Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, "Alphabetical List of Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court," accessed December 17, 2014
  17. Tennessee Bar Association, "Horace Maynard: The Tennessee Supreme Court Judge Who Wasn’t," September 7, 2011
  18. Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society