Vanderbilt Law Review


Paul H. Sanders

First Page



During the survey period the Tennessee Supreme Court had occasion to deal with a major, though unsuccessful, attack upon the constitutionality of the state legislation providing for the apportionment of Senators and Representatives in the General Assembly. There were also important questions relating to constitutional limitations on the police power in the regulation of insurance and of the number and capacity of gasoline storage tanks by a municipality.

The separation between legislative, executive and judicial powers is made express in the Tennessee Constitution.' In addition, each of these coordinate branches of government is expressly enjoined from performing the functions of either of the other two. Judicial power in Tennessee has long been treated as including as a normal function the power of courts to determine questions of constitutionality and, if necessary, to invalidate the action of one of the coordinate branches of government. The fact that the Governor and members of the General Assembly likewise take an oath to uphold the constitutions of the state and of the United States has not prevented judicial action declaring the action of either of these two other branches to be unconstitutional and void. Nevertheless, the courts have avoided deciding certain types of constitutional controversies where they have felt that the matter is not appropriate for adjudication but must be resolved, if it is to be resolved, by the legislature or the executive.