The Tennessee Supreme Court
The Tennessee Supreme Court is the highest court in Tennessee. The Court has 5 judges, called justices, who decide the cases together.
The Supreme Court is called the court of last resort because it decides appeals from lower courts. The Court interprets state and federal law and constitutions. When there is a need for a quicker decision, the Court can take over cases from the appellate courts.
The Supreme Court handles appeals in civil cases and criminal cases. There are no juries, witnesses, or testimonies at the Supreme Court level. Lawyers give written arguments that are called briefs. Lawyers may ask the Supreme Court if they can make oral arguments.
When the Court makes decisions on a case, it does so in writing. Supreme Court decisions are called opinions. If the losing side is unhappy with the decision, it may appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court usually meets in Jackson, Knoxville, and Nashville. Sometimes they meet in other cities. And a few times a year, they meet in front of Tennessee high schools so the students can have a chance to learn more about the court system.
The Supreme Court justices are elected and evaluated every 8 years. The evaluations are printed in state newspapers to help voters decide whether to keep or replace the judges.