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Making the Case

Author: Tennessee Attorney General's Office

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The Tennessee Attorney General's Office has played an important role in some of the most complex and controversial cases in the state's history. Hear from the attorneys who managed these lawsuits- some all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. You will also learn how the Attorney General defends state laws, protects Tennesseans from federal overreach, advocates to uphold the Constitution, and fights businesses whose deceptive practices have dangerous consequences.
22 Episodes
General Jonathan Skrmetti talks about his first month on the job, his top priorities for the Office, and how he came to Tennessee in the first place.
Associate Solicitor General Joe Whalen, who argued one of the four cases involved in the Obergefell decision on same sex marriage in 2015, looks back on what led up to that landmark case and what its like to go before the highest court in the land.
Voting rights in Tennessee changed when a young lawyer - new to Nashville- convinced the U.S. Supreme Court that the state's residency requirements were unconstitutional.Vanderbilt Law Professor James Blumstein takes us back to 1970 when he challenged Tennessee state law and found himself arguing the case- his first-before the United States Supreme Court. The Court's 6-1 ruling in his favor was announced 50 years ago on March 21, 1972.  James Blumstein | Faculty | Law School | Vanderbilt University
Bobby Richey was in high school when he joined the movement to end segregation in Nashville restaurants and stores. In this episode of Making the Case he takes us back to 1960 when he participated in the protest at lunch counters downtown. Richey was arrested- an event that changed the course of his life.  Joined by his daughter, Stephanie Richey, an investigator with the Tennessee Attorney General's Office, the two discuss the generational impact of the civil rights movement on Nashville, the nation, and their family.
If a 26 billion settlement agreement with major opioid distributors and Johnson & Johnson  goes through, Tennessee could see $613 million for abating the opioid crisis state-wide.Marie Williams, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services,  along with lead attorneys from the Tennessee Attorney General's Office, talk about the historic effort to reach a settlement and how these funds can make a life-changing difference for Tennesseans moving forward.  Episode notes: Attorney General Slatery Leads $26 Billion Agreement with Opioid Distributors/Manufacturer ( Abuse Services (
For families of crime victims and victims themselves, the judicial system can be confusing, disheartening, and frustrating. Sierra Ragland and Tracy Taylor go beyond what the law requires, fully informing, guiding, and comforting family members through the stages of the criminal appeals process.Hear their stories as the state of Tennessee recognizes and honors homicide victims during this year's Season to Remember. Episode notes: Watch the livestream of Season to Remember 12-2-21 at 5:30 pm
In this special Veterans Day episode,  Assistant Attorney General Tessa Ortiz-Marsh shares her story of military service and how it relates to the practice of public law.In 2006, she was deployed to Baghdad where she served the first of two tours as a combat medic in the U.S. Army. "That's where I learned to love people," says Ortiz-Marsh, who now practices law in the Tennessee Attorney General's Office. "I grew up with farms and cows. The next thing I knew at nineteen I was across the world experiencing new food, culture, languages and religions." 
The Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) within the Office of the Tennessee Attorney General is investigating complaints about recruitment schemes offered by various Bitcoin websites. The complaints coincide with an uptick in companies claiming to use artificial intelligence and Bitcoin to maximize returns on investment. These companies offer money for every additional investor you recruit. Assistant Attorney General Tate Ball tells us what the Tennessee Attorney General's Office can do and what you should look for to avoid falling for a similar scheme. Episode notes:If you feel you’ve been treated unfairly by a company, file a complaint with the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs at distributorship schemes can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission. For questions concerning an investment type or to file a complaint regarding fraudulent investment activity, please visit  
Constitution Day

Constitution Day


September 17th is Constitution Day. This federal holiday commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. As we all learned in high school civics class, the Constitution defines the structure of our federal government. It is the most remarkable political charter in history. In this episode with Tennessee Appeals Court Judge Andy Bennett  learn who wrote the most famous words in the Preamble: We the People. Hint- it wasn't James
How a national organization that started in Hendersonville, Tennessee is helping reduce youth suicide- the second leading cause of death for teenagers. Former Attorney General Paul Summers tells Making the Case how he first got involved with The Jason Foundation and how the National Association of Attorneys General plays an active role in helping save lives.The Jason Foundation (JTI) (615) 264-2323Attorneys General State Program | The Jason Foundation, Inc.
Several concerts had been scheduled in Tennessee before Elvis Presley's untimely death on August 16th, 1977. A court battle ensued over how to handle unclaimed ticket refunds. One of the attorneys who handled the case on appeal, Deputy Larry Lewis, tells Making the Case what happened and why you can still get a refund.
A recent law school graduate describes what it's like to work in the Solicitor General's Office (OSG) where some of the most high profile cases are managed. Apply here: Tennessee OSG Honors Fellowship (
Capital punishment is the most severe penalty that can be imposed in our criminal justice system. The General Assembly has established many procedures and layers of review to provide intensive scrutiny  before a death sentence is carried out. At each stage of the process, there are both constitutional and statutory mandates to be followed.  Associate Solicitors General Amy Tarkington and Zach Hinkle along with Leslie Price, Senior Deputy of the Criminal Justice Section, walk us through that process.  Episode notes:Tennessee Appeals Process (
 One of the hardest of most misunderstood roles of the Attorney General in Tennessee  involves defending death penalty judgments in the State’s appellate courts.  Solicitor General Amy Tarkington takes us through the history of death penalty cases in Tennessee starting with the significance of the 1971 Supreme Court decision , Furman v. Georgia. Episode notes:For more information on the Tennessee Appeals Process, click here: Tennessee Appeals Process (
Investigators in Hamilton County recently closed a cold murder case with ties to former Tennessee Governor Ray Blanton. Senator Lamar Alexander, political strategist Tom Ingram, and attorney Hal Hardin discuss the depth of criminal activity uncovered in the Blanton administration and how the "Coup" of 1979, which effectively ousted Blanton, impacted Tennessee decades later.
The question before Tennessee Attorney General William Leech was straight forward but fraught with problems. Could the Governor-elect, Lamar Alexander, be sworn into office early to prevent the release of dozens of dangerous criminals from prison under the administration of the outgoing Governor, Ray Blanton? As the story continues, hear how AG Leech made it through what's been called the "toughest 36 hours of any Tennessee Attorney General" as Leech argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, raced to the bedside of his wife who was giving birth to their son, then right into the firestorm of the pardons and parole scandal.
That's what former Lt. Governor John Wilder called the unceremonious removal of Governor Ray Blanton from office three days early in 1979. Senator Lamar Alexander, attorney Hal Hardin, and political consultant Tom Ingram take us through the harrowing hours of Tennessee's biggest political scandal, the critical role played by the Tennessee Attorney General, and the bipartisan collaboration that made it all possible. Episode notes:Author Keel Hunt's book, "Coup, the day the Democrats ousted their Governor" Coup — KEEL HUNTHal Hardin: Hal Hardin – Hardin Law OfficeTom Ingram: THE INGRAM GROUPTennessee Attorney General's Office: Twitter: @tnattygen
In a letter to President Biden dated July 7th, Tennessee and 20 other states oppose new guidance recently issued by federal education and employment agencies. Chief Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti explains what federal guidance means, how it can be misinterpreted, and the landmark Supreme Court case that's driving the debate.
There are nine justices on the United States Supreme Court. But it hasn't always been that way.  Former Tennessee Attorney General Paul Summers weighs in on the debate to increase the number of justices and why he's working to "keep nine" through a constitutional amendment. 
Consumer Protection

Consumer Protection


Robocalls, price gouging, home improvement scams. The Division of Consumer Affairs in the Attorney General's Office can help with the day-to-day problems that touch all of our lives. From the complaint center to filing legal action we'll take you through the process and tell you about the top consumer complaints in Tennessee- and how to get help if you've been scammed. 
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