Current Litigation

Citizens v Governor Bill Lee

(Chancery Court of Davidson County)

Governor Lee has exercised authority under the emergency powers statute per TCA §58-2-107. In particular, that state statute gives the governor, during times of emergency, the authority to issue executive orders with the “force and effect of law” and secondly, to delegate powers as he “may deem prudent.” We believe these powers to be unconstitutional per the Constitution of the State of Tennessee.

Art III, §10 of the constitution gives the governor the charge to see that the laws are “faithfully executed.” That certainly does not imply that the governor has the power to make new laws. Further, lawmaking authority is given in Art. II to the General Assembly and no other branch of the government. Art II, §2 states, “No person or persons belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any of the powers properly belonging to either of the others…” In other words, the governor as a member of the executive branch of government may not assume the duties of the legislative branch of the government (i.e. lawmaking).

The Governor has delegated powers to county mayors to issue mask mandates in their respective counties. But Art VII, §1 of the constitution specifically states that for all county executives, “duties shall be prescribed by the General Assembly.”

These powers delegated to the Governor by TCA §58-2-107 while passed by the General Assembly in the year 2000, are therefore unconstitutional per the Constitution of the State of Tennessee.

Status Updates

October 9, 2020 State Attorney General made a motion to dismiss on the claim of the plaintiffs having a lack of standing.

October 23, 2020 Judge will hear the motion to dismiss. (UPDATE: Court date was posponed to Nov 9.)

November 9, 2020 Judge will hear motion to dismiss and consider motion for summary judgment by plaintiffs.

Citizens v Jason Golden, et. Al

(Williamson County Circuit Court)

Superintendent Jason Golden and Williamson County Schools as well as the Franklin Special School District have exercised an assumed authority to issue mask mandates in schools for all staff and students (K thru 12) per the COVID Reopening Framework until there are zero (0) confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Williamson County. We believe this mandate to be unlawful.

Mr. Golden has argued that the authority to issue such a mandate comes from the guidelines set forth by the Tennessee Department of Health and also per Executive Order No. 55 issued on July 31, 2020. It is worth noting that Executive Order No. 55 was issued by the Governor after the COVID Reopening Framework was already approved by an 11-1 vote of the Williamson County School Board. Further, the Department of Health is an advisory, appointed administration with no lawmaking authority and therefore cannot prescribe new duties or powers to the Board of Education. Guidelines are not laws and do not carry the force of statute.

Per Art XI, §12 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance, support and eligibility standards of a system of free public schools.” The Board of Education draws its authority directly from the General Assembly per the constitution. Local school boards draw their authority and prescribed duties directly from TCA §49-2-203. Nowhere in that statute does a local school board find the authority to regulate healthcare in the schools. In fact, TCA §49-2-203(b)(2) specifically gives a local school board the ability to have a student see a physician only upon the assumption that the student may in fact be sick. Further, it is then the physician that determines whether or not the student is sick and/or may return to school. This statute further strengthens the argument that the intention of the General Assembly is for the Board of Education to regulate education and leave medical determinations to physicians.

Mask mandates by local school districts are unlawful.

Status Updates

September 21, 2020 WCS filed an answer to the complaint.

September 21, 2020 WCS filed a motion for summary judgment.

October 15, 2020 Judge granted Plaintiff’s request to amend the complaint by adding Franklin Special School District to the lawsuit.

December 21, 2020 Court date to hear the case on summary judgment.