Reference Number: 
CTAS-471

Organization

The Supreme Court consists of five justices and no more than two shall reside in any one of the grand divisions. A Supreme Court Justices must be 35 years old, a Tennessee resident for five years, and licensed to practice law in Tennessee. The justices designate their chief justice. The Supreme Court holds court in Knoxville, Nashville and Jackson, but it may be held in other places as the chief justice may designate.  However, the Supreme Court must hold court at Knoxville on the second Monday in September, at Nashville on the first Monday in December, and at Jackson on the first Monday in April.  Tenn. Const., art. VI, §§ 2, 3; T.C.A. §§ 17-1-106(a), 16-2- 102, 16-2-103.

Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court's jurisdiction "shall be appellate only, under such restrictions and regulations as may from time to time be prescribed by law; but it may possess such other jurisdiction as is now conferred by law on the present Supreme Court." Tenn. Const., art. VI, § 2. The court lacks original jurisdiction in any matter, and the legislature lacks authority to confer original jurisdiction upon it. In re Bowers, 192 S.W. 919 (Tenn. 1917). Accordingly, the court may not try cases de novo, Simm v. Doughtery, 210 S.W.2d 486 (Tenn. 1948); or render advisory opinions, Leach v. State, 491 S.W.2d 81 (Tenn. 1973).

Direct appeals may be taken from the trial court to the Supreme Court only if authorized by statute. However, an appeal by permission may be taken from an appellate court's final decision only upon application and in the court's discretion. Direct appeals may be taken to the Supreme Court in the following cases:  

  1. Workers' compensation cases. T.C.A. §§ 16-4-108, 50-6-225;
  2. Expedited appeals regarding denial of consent for abortion to minors. T.C.A. § 37-10-304(g); and
  3. Disciplinary actions involving attorneys. Tenn. Sup. Ct. Rules, Rule 9, § 1.3