JP Election Brief: High court races setting the tone
- August 28: Primary election in Arizona
In the News
Louisiana Supreme Court race set
Friday at 5pm marked the end of a three-day qualifying period for Louisiana's November 6 general election. On the ballot are two Supreme Court races, twenty-two races for the five circuits of the Circuit Courts of Appeal and three District Court races. The race with the most candidates is that of the Fifth District Supreme Court seat that Chief Justice Kitty Kimball will leave vacant when she retires at year's end.
That race drew eight challengers, almost ensuring a runoff election on December 1. Four out of eight candidates are colleagues on the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal: Toni M. Higginbotham, John Guidry, Jefferson Hughes, and Jewel Welch. William Morvant has served as a judge on the 19th Judicial District since 1997. The remaining three candidates are attorneys: Jeffry L. Sanford, Timothy E. Kelly and Mary Olive Pierson. 
When her motivation for running was questioned, Pierson explained the financial aspect. She determined it was cheaper to pay the $675 in fees to enter the race than to pay to support each candidate. She stated, "The worst thing you could do is support the winner, because then you got five other judges mad at you." 
In the Sixth District Supreme Court race, Justice John L. Weimer is running unopposed for re-election.
To learn more about all the Louisiana races on the ballot in November, check out Louisiana judicial elections, 2012.
Georgia primary election runoff results
With the primary runoff now over, all voting for Georgia judges in 2012 has concluded. This year, Georgia judicial elections took place during the general primary on July 31st, with a runoff election August 21; no judgeships will be up for election on November 6.
One race, which was too close to call in the days after the July 31 election, was closely decided and did not warrant a runoff race. Jon F. Helton narrowly defeated Harold D. McLendon in the race for a seat on the Dublin Judicial Circuit. Only 50 votes separated the two candidates when all were tallied. Helton received 50.14% of the vote, while McLendon received 49.83%.
The race for Gwinnett Judicial Circuit was finally decided Tuesday, after Tracey Mason Blasi and Kathy Schrader faced one another in the runoff. The race for the vacancy created by the retirement of K. Dawson Jackson originally had five candidates, and the top two vote earners in the July 31 election moved on. In that race, Schrader received 43.54% and Blasi received 20.39%. Schrader was successful in the runoff, receiving 69.83% of the vote to Blasi's 30.17%.
Preview of Washington's general election appellate court races
Following the state primary election held on August 7, the race was over for many judicial candidates in Washington state, win or lose. However, two appellate court races have yet to be determined, and will be decided in the general election on November 6, 2012.
Washington Supreme Court, Position 9
Sheryl McCloud received 28.93% of the vote in her campaign for Position 9 on the state Supreme Court. She holds an undergraduate degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law. Over the course of her career, she has worked as a public defender and as an attorney in private practice. McCloud has been endorsed by the Seattle Times, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, and numerous Democratic party organizations, in addition to several retired justices of the Washington Supreme Court.
Richard Sanders received 28.49% of the vote in his campaign to rejoin the state Supreme Court. Sanders holds both an undergraduate degree and a J.D. from the University of Washington. He served as a justice on the Washington Supreme Court from 1995 to 2011, and previously worked in private practice. Sanders has been endorsed by the Association of Washington Business, several current and former justices of the Washington Supreme Court, the Washington State Republican Party, and U.S. Representative Ron Paul.
Washington Court of Appeals, Division 2
Thomas Bjorgen received 18.21% of the vote in the race for the Division 2 seat on the state Court of Appeals. Bjorgen earned his undergraduate degree from Washington State University, and holds a J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law. During his legal career, he has worked as state Assistant Attorney General, as counsel in the state legislature, and in private practice. Bjorgen has been endorsed by numerous judges of the Court of Appeals, both former and present, as well as the Washington Federation of State Employees (Local 443), the Nisqually Tribe, and the Washington Conservation Voters. He has been found well qualified by the Justice for Washington Foundation.
Pamela Loginsky received 26.76% of the vote in the primary race for the Court of Appeals, Division 2. She has served as the Staff Attorney for the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys since 1999, and has served as a prosecutor or special prosecutor for counties across Division 2. Loginsky's campaign has been endorsed by numerous judges from Washington state, as well as the National Women's Political Caucus, the Mason County Republican Party, and the Liability Reform Coalition. She has been found well qualified by the Justice for Washington Foundation.
Alabama Democrats switch candidate for Chief Justice race
As mentioned in last week's Election Brief, on Friday the Alabama Democratic Party held a hearing to determine whether Harry Lyon was fit to stand as the party's candidate for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He was to have competed against former Chief Justice Roy Moore in the general election. During the hearing, the committee provided evidence in the form of Lyon's private Facebook postings during the campaign. After being disqualified, he again took to the platform to express his opinion on the matter. Below is an exceprt from his page. The capital letters are carried over from the original posting.
|“||I WISH THAT CHAIRMAN KENNEDY RENOUNCE HIS POSITION OF AGREEING WITH SAME SEX MARRIAGE AND BELIEF THAT HOMOSEXUALITY IS HEALTHY AS, IN MY OPINION, HIS DIRECTOR BRADLEY DAVIDSON, POLITICAL FRIEND DOUG JONES AND OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE EMBRACE. AMEN. ||”|
The Chairman of the Republican Party responded by noting that the removal of Lyon from the ballot showed "that Democrats are truly liberal and out of touch with Alabama values." 
Stepping in to take on the role as the Democratic candidate is Judge Robert S. Vance, who has served on the Circuit 10 Court since 2002. He was most recently re-elected to the Circuit Court in 2010, when he ran without opposition.  Vance mentioned that he did not enter the race before the March primary because he supported the work of current Chief Justice Charles Malone.  Many were surprised when Malone was not chosen by voters in the state as the Republican candidate for the seat.
"None of the above" voting option struck down by Nevada judge
The "none of the above" option on Nevada ballots was declared unconstitutional in a recent decision by the Nevada District Court Judge Robert C. Jones. Judge Jones said that because the votes are not counted in the final tallies to determine winners the option is illegitimate.
The Republican National Committee was pleased with the outcome, saying "We're glad we were successful in our efforts to bring clarity to the Nevada presidential election ballot."
Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson disagreed with the decision saying that the option gave voters a chance protest and to show politicians that they do not agree with either candidate. Benson said, "The purpose of the option is to send a clear message."
However, Judge Jones disagreed with Benson, issuing an injunction to remove the "none" option from Nevada's ballots.
The Nevada Secretary of State said he would pursue "an immediate and expedited appeal to protect the long-standing public interest of the 'none of these candidates' option."
"Nonpartisan" judicial races receive plenty of partisan backing in Mississippi
Judicial elections in Mississippi, like the one coming up this November, are considered nonpartisan. Candidates are not nominated by any political party, nor are they allowed to state how they would rule on particular issues if elected. However, political parties and special interest groups are still prevalent in judicial elections.
Recently, the Mississippi Republic Party released a list of the judicial candidates they endorsed. Trial lawyers, as well as business groups, are also active this time of year, holding fundraisers and making campaign contributions to judges who might best serve their interests.
Historically, there has been some controversy about the involvement of political parties in Mississippi judicial elections. A 1999 law banned political parties from giving money to judicial candidates. This law was in effect until late 2002, when U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate struck it down as unconstitutional. Traditionally, the Republican party has been in favor of allowing political parties to be active in state judicial elections, while the Democratic party has been against it.
- ↑ Louisiana judicial elections, 2012
- ↑ The Advocate, "Nov. 6 qualifying starts," August 17, 2012
- ↑ Louisiana Secretary of State, Candidate Inquiry
- ↑ Georgia Secretary of State, "July 31, 2012 primary results
- ↑ Georgia Secretary of State, "August 21, 2012 primary runoff results
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Washington Secretary of State, 2012 Primary Results - Judicial
- ↑ Sheryl Gordon McCloud for Supreme Court campaign website, About
- ↑ Sheryl Gordon McCloud for Supreme Court campaign website, Endorsements
- ↑ Re-Elect Justice Richard Sanders campaign website, Biography
- ↑ Re-Elect Justice Richard Sanders campaign website, 2012 Endorsements
- ↑ Thomas Bjorgen for Court of Appeals Judge campaign website, Experience
- ↑ Thomas Bjorgen for Court of Appeals Judge campaign website, Endorsements
- ↑ Justice for Washington Ratings
- ↑ Pam Loginsky for Court of Appeals Judge campaign website
- ↑ pamloginsky.com Pam Loginsky for Court of Appeals Judge campaign website, Endorsements
- ↑ Justice for Washington Ratings
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 WWNT Radio.com, "Lyon Responds to his Removal from Ballot," August 21, 2012
- ↑ Robert S. Vance
- ↑ Gadsen Times, "Democratic judge enters Ala. chief justice race," August 20, 2012
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 Associated Press, "Judge strikes down Nevada's 'none' voting option," August 22, 2012
- ↑ The Commercial Appeal, "News Analysis: Nonpartisan judicial elections not exactly nonpartisan in Mississippi", August 20, 2012
|This article was written by Katy Farrell, the Editor of Judgepedia. She can be reached at email@example.com.|