High Court Hears Arguments on Tennessee’s School-Choice Program

ORNL Traveling Science Fair at the TN 4th Annual Tennessee STEM Innovation Summit and STEMx Event, Nashville, TN

Tennessee’s highest court heard arguments on a disputed school choice program.

Tennessee’s Education Savings Accounts (ESA) pilot program, approved by the state Legislature in 2019, would provide state-funded scholarships of about $7,100 to low-income students in Nashville and Memphis – home to the state’s two lowest-performing school districts. Students would be able to use the funds to attend nonpublic schools of their choice.

A district court ruled the program unconstitutional when the two counties sued the state to stop the program. The state Court of Appeals upheld that ruling, and the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

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Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act Trial Date Set

The dispute concerning the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act will go to trial October 26 through October 28, per the orders of Davidson County Chancery Court Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle.

This, according to Nashville attorney Jim Roberts. As reported, Roberts is fighting the Davidson County Election Commission to get the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act referendum on the December 5 ballot. He said Commission members are playing unfair games with him and the public.

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Davidson County Election Commission Cancels Meeting: ‘Since Nothing Is Urgent at This Point in Time We Made The Decision That It Was Not Necessary to Meet’

Members of the Davidson County Election Commission have cancelled a meeting they previously scheduled for Tuesday.

This, one day after The Tennessee Star demonstrated that Metro Legal Director Bob Cooper said something incorrect at a recent Election Commission meeting.

Cooper incorrectly stated that election commissioners had more than just a “purely ministerial” role taking on the Nashville Taxpayer Protection Act.

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Metro Nashville Legal Director Bob Cooper: 1949 TN Supreme Court Case Was About ‘Statewide Referendum Election Where the Constitutionality of the Referendum Was in Question’

In his testimony before the Davidson County Election Commission’s September 25 meeting, Metro Legal Director Bob Cooper cited a 1949 Tennessee Supreme Court decision, Cummings v. Beeler, as a “template” the commission could follow if it chose to accept a third option he outlined as a possible course of action– to “file a lawsuit in Davidson County Chancery Court seeking a declaratory judgment on whether the amendment should be placed on the ballot or should be rejected.”

Cooper stated the Cummings v. Beeler case was about “whether it [The Tennessee Secretary of State’s Office] could hold a statewide referendum election where the constitutionality of the referendum was in question.”

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Metro Nashville’s Claim of Election Commission ‘Non-Ministerial Role’ to Keep Property Tax Referendum Off Ballot Contradicted by 2004 Tennessee Supreme Court Decision: No Legal Authority to Question Constitutionality

The  2004 Tennessee Supreme Court decision in City of Memphis v. Shelby County Election Commission that found the “Commission exceeded its authority by refusing to place Referendum Ordinance No. 5072 on the November 2, 2004, ballot based upon the State Election Coordinator’s opinion that the Ordinance is unconstitutional,” may blow a major hole in Metro Nashville Legal Director Bob Cooper’s argument made to to the Davidson County Election Commission at its September 25 meeting that “the commission’s role here is not purely ministerial,” and that a 2004 Tennessee Supreme Court decision “said that the commission can consider the form of a referendum petition and suggested that it could review the petition’s facial or procedural legality.”

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Police May Have to Get Counseling, Per Nashville Community Oversight Board

Members of Nashville’s new Citizen Oversight Board will have access to police files. They can interview witnesses and police officers. They can send reports with recommendations about allegedly problematic officers to Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson, according to a new report in The Tennessee Tribune. “Those recommendations could be…

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Tennessee Republican Attorney General Herb Slatery Fights Obamacare, Democrat Predecessor Would Not

A federal judge in Texas recently ruled Obamacare is constitutionally flawed, and Tennessee Attorney General Herb Slatery, a Republican, played a role, however small, in challenging it. Unlike his predecessor, Democrat Bob Cooper, Slatery fought the law on behalf of the Tennessee residents who want it gone. Cooper wanted nothing…

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