New Tennessee justice recuses herself in school voucher case

February 18, 2022 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — New Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Sarah Campbell has recused herself from a case over Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s school voucher program, which remains blocked.

The recusal last week came as justices prepare to rehear voucher oral arguments on Thursday. Campbell served in the state attorney general’s office as associate solicitor general.

Court of Appeals Judge Thomas R. Frierson II is sitting in for Campbell on the case.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly passed the voucher program and Lee signed it in 2019. In 2020, a lower court decided it violated the Tennessee Constitution’s “home rule” by singling out Nashville and Memphis’ Shelby County without local signoff.

An appeals court upheld that decision. Justices heard oral arguments in June. They decided to order a rehearing in the case after the death of then-Justice Cornelia Clark in September.

The governor picked Campbell for the opening in January. Lawmakers confirmed her appointment to the court last week.