Mississippi judicial elections, 2012
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The Mississippi judicial elections consisted of the general election on November 6, 2012.
Mississippi judicial elections summary, 2012
Supreme CourtTo organize the columns, click on the arrows in the column heading.
|Earle Banks||No||District 1, Position 1||45%|
|Josiah Coleman||No||District 3, Position 3||58%|
|Leslie King||Yes||District 1, Position 2||100%|
|Mike Randolph||Yes||District 2, Position 3||77%|
|Richard T. Phillips||No||District 3, Position 3||42%|
|Talmadge Braddock||No||District 2, Position 3||23%|
|William Waller||Yes||District 1, Position 1||55%|
Court of AppealsTo organize the columns, click on the arrows in the column heading.
|Ceola James||No||District 2, Position 2||63%|
|Ermea Russell||Yes||District 2, Position 2||37%|
|Eugene Fair||Yes||District 5, Position 1|
Chancery CourtTo organize the columns, click on the arrows in the column heading.
In the News
Haley appointee ousted from court
As featured in JP Election Brief: Highlights of the 2012 judicial elections on November 15, 2012
Ceola James beat incumbent Ermea Russell for a seat on the Mississippi Court of Appeals in what may be a voter statement of discontent. James won convincingly with 63% of the vote. Russell, who was originally appointed to the seat by Gov. Haley Barbour in May 2011, received just 37% of the vote. James will take office in January 2013.
Mississippi Supreme Court race
As featured in JP Election Brief: The Supreme Court Special on October 18, 2012.
Mississippi's Supreme Court has nine justices. The 2012 election features 3 contested races. Two of these races pit an incumbent seeking to hold onto his seat against a fresh challenger. The other features two candidates vying for the seat of a retiring justice. The final race for the Mississippi Supreme Court is an unopposed incumbent.
The nonpartisan race to fill retiring Justice George Carlson's seat on the Supreme Court is a battle between the young and the old. Richard "Flip" Phillips is a veteran Mississippi attorney, having practiced for over 40 years. His opponent, attorney Josiah Coleman, at 39 years old, would be the youngest justice to serve on the state's Supreme Court, if elected. Incidentally, as of August, Phillips had raised nearly $100,000 more than Coleman to fund his campaign.
|“|| Judges should not act to make public policy as though they were members of the legislative branch of our government. Rather, they should work hard to understand and respect the law and apply it fairly to the facts of the cases before them. Judges should demand the same respect for the law from themselves as they expect from the attorneys and parties who appear before them.
Mississippi Supreme Court races heats up
As featured in JP Election Brief: Retentions, retirements and ratings on September 20, 2012.
Mississippi: The race to replace retiring Mississippi Supreme Court Justice George Carlson is on, pitting 39-year-old attorney Josiah Coleman, son of a federal judge and governor, against veteran lawyer Richard "Flip" Phillips.
Though judicial elections are nonpartisan, Coleman has been pegged as conservative and received a notable endorsement from the Mississippi Business and Industry Political Education Committee. He currently works for the law firm of Hickman, Goza and Spragins. If elected, he would be the youngest justice to serve on the state's Supreme Court.
Phillips has spent 40 years as an attorney and currently works in Batesville. As of July, he had raised approximately $145,000 for his campaign, overshadowing his opponent's $51,000.
In their own words:
Coleman has stated,
|“||Judges should not act to make public policy as though they were members of the legislative branch; they should fairly interpret our current laws.||”|
|“||I want us to keep the Mississippi Supreme Court with those who have a wide range of experience, qualifications and maturity.||”|
Judge removed from Mississippi Court of Appeals race for living in the wrong district
As featured in JP Election Brief: Judges seeking retention are judged on September 13, 2012.
Jackson attorney Latrice Westbrooks thought she would be running for a judgeship this year. However, the Mississippi Board of Election Commissioners removed her from the Mississippi Court of Appeals race on Sept. 10. In a unanimous decision, the commissioners decided that since Westbrooks didn't live in District 2, she couldn't run for office for judge of that district.
Westbrooks admitted that she lives seven-tenths of a mile outside of the district, but she claims that state law does not require candidates to live in the districts in which they seek office. Westbrooks's law office is, in fact, located in District 2.
Lance Stevens, the attorney who represented Westbrooks before the election commissioners, said that he thinks the decision was a matter of politics. Westbrooks plans to file an appeal of the decision with the 5th Chancery Court. If the appeal succeeds, Westbrooks will compete against Ceola James and incumbent judge Ermea Russell in November.
"Nonpartisan" judicial races receive plenty of partisan backing in Mississippi
As featured in JP Election Brief: High court races setting the tone on August 23, 2012.
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.
Mississippi Supreme Court races set
As featured in JP Election Brief: Focus on the Gulf States and Northwest on May 17, 2012.
A final candidate joined the Mississippi Supreme Court races on Friday, which was the candidate qualifying deadline. Rep. Earle Banks, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives since 1992, is running against Chief Justice William Waller. The two will face-off in the general election on Nov. 6.
Banks stated, "For far too long, our Supreme Court has acted as if its sole purpose is to protect big corporations and out-of-state interests…I am entering this race because I want to be part of a judicial system that treats every Mississippian with fairness and dignity."
Waller, who was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1996, hopes voters will take note of his experience. He also countered Banks's statement, explaining, "I think that we have an excellent court, and I think that our court treats every Mississippian with fairness and dignity."
There are two other contested races for the high court in Mississippi in 2012. Josiah Dennis Coleman will compete against Richard T. Phillips to replace retiring Justice George Carlson. Also, incumbent Judge Mike Randolph faces a challenger in Talmadge Braddock.
- Mississippi 2012 General Election Sample Ballot
- Mississippi Secretary of State: Mississippi Election Chart 2000 - 2012
- MS Litigation Review (blog), "Supreme Court Election Heats Up--Not", September 14, 2012
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Clarion Ledger, "Coleman, Phillips in hotly contested judicial race", September 13, 2012
- ↑ Information submitted to Judgepedia by Coleman's campaign via email on 10/2/2012
- ↑ The Republic, "Jackson attorney says she'll challenge board's decision to remove her from Appeals Court race", September 10, 2012
- ↑ The Commercial Appeal, "News Analysis: Nonpartisan judicial elections not exactly nonpartisan in Mississippi", August 20, 2012
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Clarion Ledger, "Banks running for court", May 11, 2012