Special Three-Judge Panels

News and Updates 

Upcoming Three-Judge Panel Hearings:

Metro v. Lee, et al. Case No. 23-1311-III

Hearing on Metro’s Motion for Temporary Injunction and Metro’s Motion for an Expedited Hearing will be held on November 29, 2023, at 9:30 A.M. Central Time at the Nashville Metropolitan Courthouse, 1 Public Square, Suite 407, Nashville, Tennessee 37201

Three-Judge Panel Live Streaming Link for Case No.23-1311-III


Moses v. Goins, et al., Shelby County Circuit Court No. CT-1579-19

Hearing on the Motion to Revise and to Permit Interlocutory Appeal will be held on Thursday, November 16, 2023, at 11:00 A.M. Central Standard Time via Zoom. 

Three-Judge Panel Live Streaming Link for Case No. CT-1579-19:


Metro. Gov't v. Lee, Davidson County Chancery Court, Case No. 23-0778-II

Summary judgment motions will be heard in person on Friday, October 6, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room on the ground floor of the Metro Historic Courthouse, One Public Square, Nashville, Tennessee, 37201.

Three-Judge Panel Live Streaming Link for Case No. 23-0778-II:


Special Three-Judge Panels

In May 2021, the General Assembly passed and the Governor signed an act to create special three-judge panels for cases that meet specific criteria. The law required the Tennessee Supreme Court to promulgate rules governing the practice and procedure of those panels.  In June 2021, the Tennessee Supreme Court amended the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee to add new Rule 54, Interim Rule for Special Three-Judge Panels, effective July 1, 2021. 

Under the law, the Supreme Court will select two trial court judges to sit with the judge to whom the case was originally assigned. There will be one judge from each of Tennessee’s three grand divisions and the Supreme Court will designate a chief judge for the case. On the panel, a majority vote rules. The venue for the case is the county where the plaintiff resides and is Sumner County if the plaintiff is not a Tennessee resident.

Key Documents

Legislation creating the three-judge panels - Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 20, effective July 1, 2021
Tennessee Supreme Court Interim Rule 54

Criteria & Procedure For Cases

The law states the following:

"(a) A civil action in which the complaint meets each of the following criteria must be heard and determined by a three-judge panel pursuant to this chapter:

(1) Challenges the constitutionality of:

     (A) A state statute, including a statute that apportions or redistricts state legislative or congressional districts;

      (B) An executive order; or

      (C)An administrative rule or regulation;

(2) Includes a claim for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief; and

(3) Is brought against the state, a state department or agency, or a state official acting in their official capacity."

Section 1 of Rule 54, Interim Rule for Special Three-Judge Panels, basically adopts the language of T. C .A. Section 20-18-101(a); however, it does add that this rule applies to amended complaints, counter-claims, and third-party complaints as well as complaints.

Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 54 details the initial procedure that must be followed, including notice and service requirements. The presiding judge in the judicial district where the notice is filed makes the initial determination as to whether the case meets the criteria for a three-judge panel. Within 10 days of receiving notice, the presiding judge will notify the Supreme Court of the filing and the initial determination. The Supreme Court makes the final determination as to whether the case qualifies for a three-judge panel.

Appeals for a case heard by a three-judge panel will be heard by the Court of Appeals, except for redistricting challenges, which will go directly to the Supreme Court. 


Case Name Case Number County Status
Metro. Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty. v. Bill Lee, et al. 23-0778-II Davidson Active
Pamela Moses v. Mark Goins, et al. No. CT-1579-19 Shelby Active
Hughes, et al. v. Bill Lee, et al. 24475 Gibson Active
Metro Gov't v. Bill Lee, et al. 23-0336-I and 23-0395-III(I) Davidson Active
Shelby Cnty. Bd. of Educ., et al. v. Lee, et al. 5-1048-III Davidson Stayed per December 10, 2021 Order
Curd v. State ex rel. TBI, et al. 20-3727-2 Knox Active
Woods v. Rausch, et al. 21-0018-II Davidson Active
Little v. Lee, et al. 21-0843-II Davidson Active
Moore, et al. v. Lee, et al. 22-0278-IV Davidson Active
Metro. Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson Cnty., et al. v. Tenn. Dep’t of Educ., et al. 20-0143-II Davidson Active