A History of the Tennessee Supreme Court

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Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2002 - History - 459 pages
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In this first comprehensive history of the Tennessee Supreme Court, seven leading scholars explore the role played by the Court in the social, economic, and political life of the state. Charting the evolution and organization of the Court (and its predecessor, the Superior Court of Law and Equity), the authors also assess the work of the Court within the larger context of the legal history of the South.

Arranged chronologically, this volume covers the period from statehood in 1796 through the judicial election of 1998 and traces the range of contentious issues the Court has faced, including slavery, Reconstruction, economic rights, the regulation of business, and race and gender relations. The authors also outline the Court's relationship with the Supreme Court of the United States and chronicle the achievements of the Court in public and private law, state constitutional law, property law, criminal justice, and family law. The central themes that emerge include the nature of federalism, the search for judicial independence, and the practice of judicial review.

As the authors demonstrate, the work of the Tennessee Supreme Court highlights the importance of state courts to the federal system and illuminates the interplay between regionalism and national norms in shaping a state's legal culture. Indeed, as mediator of conflicts between traditional southern values and national economic and social trends, the Court has generally, if sometimes belatedly, adopted national legal standards. Further, while the Court has tended to defer to the state's legislative decision-making process, it has on occasion assumed a more activist role in order to assert individual rights for Tennessee'scitizens.

Sponsored by the Tennessee Supreme Court Historical Society, this book is written for anyone interested in Tennessee history in general or legal history in particular. Appendixes include a comprehensive table of cases and biographical information about all the Court's judges.

 

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Contents

The Formative Period in the History of the Supreme Court
1
John Overton
14
John Catron
20
Judicial Independence in an Age of Democracy Sectionalism
61
The Tennessee Supreme Court during Reconstruction
99
The Tennessee Supreme Court 18861910
152
on the Judiciary
171
A Hanging in Warren County
182
The Supreme Court in 1953
240
Sitin at a Lunch Counter in Nashville February 1960
252
The Tennessee Supreme Court and the Struggle for Independence
270
William J Harbison and Judges Robert E Cooper Ray L Brock Jr
277
The Tennessee Supreme Court Chosen in the 1998 Judicial Election
322
Justices of the Supreme Court of Tennessee 17901998
327
Supreme Courts of Tennessee
343
Table of Cases
355

1910Judicial Election Card
197
William Jennings Bryan during the Scopes Trial
216
The Supreme Court Building in Nashville
227
Tranquility amid
229
Notes
371
Select Bibliography
431
About the Authors
447
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

James W. Ely, Jr. is Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law and Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Ambivalent Legacy: A Legal History of the South (1984), An Uncertain Tradition: Constitutionalism and the History of the South (1989),
The Bill of Rights in Modern America: After 200 Years (1993), The Chief Justiceship of Melville W. Fuller, 1888-1910 (1995), and Railroads and American Law (2001).

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