Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County et al. v. Tennessee Department of Education et al.

Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County et al. v. Tennessee Department of Education et al.
M2020-00683-SC-R11-CV

This case is before us on an interlocutory appeal limited to a single claim: Plaintiffs’ constitutional challenge to the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program (the “ESA Act” or the “Act”), Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 49-6-2601 to -2612, under article XI, section 9 of the Tennessee Constitution (the “Home Rule Amendment” or the “Amendment”).  The trial court held that Plaintiffs had standing to pursue this claim and denied Defendants’ motions to dismiss on that basis.  The court held that the ESA Act is unconstitutional under the Home Rule Amendment and granted Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment on this claim.  The trial court then sua sponte granted Defendants an interlocutory appeal, and the Court of Appeals granted their application for an interlocutory appeal by permission pursuant to Rule 9 of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment with respect to the issue of standing and the issue of the constitutionality of the ESA Act under the Home Rule Amendment.  We hold that Plaintiffs have standing to bring their Home Rule Amendment claim and affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals with respect to that issue.  However, we hold that the ESA Act does not implicate the Home Rule Amendment such that the Act is not rendered unconstitutional by the Amendment, and we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals with respect to that issue.  Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court with respect to Plaintiffs’ claim under the Home Rule Amendment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the trial court for entry of a judgment dismissing that claim, for further proceedings consistent with this opinion, and for consideration of Plaintiffs’ remaining claims. 

Authoring Judge: 
Chief Justice Roger A. Page
Originating Judge: 
Chancellor Anne C. Martin
Date Filed: 
Wednesday, May 18, 2022