Supreme Weekly: Election fever - Races in Alabama, Oregon and Georgia
by Katy Farrell
Here at Judgepedia, November means one thing - election season. Since only a few states hold high court elections in odd-numbered years, we will spend this month examining the landscape for state Supreme Courts in the 2012 elections. Supreme Weekly will work its way across the nation every Thursday in November. This week, we will look at Alabama, Oregon and Georgia.
Before we jump into next year however, we should mention that there is one Supreme Court race on the ballot next Tuesday. Justice J. Michael Eakin will stand for retention to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Eakin was elected to the court in 2001, making this his first retention election. If you are interested in other judicial races in Pennsylvania, please visit: Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2011.
Next year will be a big year for races for the Alabama Supreme Court, as five justices have terms that are expiring. Charles Malone and Jim Main, the newest justices, will run for the first time since joining the court. Meanwhile, Thomas Woodall is retiring, leaving an open seat.
Chief Justice Malone has already drawn an opponent in Charles Graddick, who announced his candidacy in July. Graddick has served on the Circuit 13 Court in Mobile County since 2004 and is currently the court's Presiding Judge. This week Graddick unleashed two television ads, getting an early jump on the race. 
For Woodall's seat, Tommy Bryan is the only announced candidate at this point.  Bryan has served on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals since 2005. In last year's election, he defeated Deborah Bell Paseur as she challenged him for his seat. Circuit Judge Scott Donaldson filed to run for the seat in July as well, though in September he dropped out of the race. Donaldson said that it was not "economically feasible" to run a statewide campaign. 
Recently, Justice Lyn Stuart announced her bid for re-election to the court. So far, no one has stepped up to challenge the incumbent.  Technically undeclared but expected to run are Glenn Murdock and Jim Main.
Though the filing deadline is still ahead, the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee has already released its endorsements for the election. The coalition supports all four incumbents, in addition to Tommy Bryan. 
The Oregon Supreme Court will also have some personnel changes come 2013; three justices have expiring terms and two have already announced their retirement. Two weeks ago, Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz said he will step down from the court, and two days ago, Robert Durham followed suit.  DeMuniz expressly stated that his announcement was timed to allow potential successors ample time to campaign, as well as allowing voters to select a new justice. 
According to filing records with the Secretary of State, as of today only one candidate has declared for either of the open seats. David V. Brewer, Chief Judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals, filed for the seat on October 20.  He has served as Chief Judge since 2004 and has been on the court since 1999.
- See also: Oregon Supreme Court Primary draws nearer, March 28, 2012
Another court with major potential for change is the Georgia Supreme Court. Three out of seven justices have terms that are expiring, meaning that the views of the court could shift dramatically. However, being a judicial election, it is entirely plausible that the incumbents retain their seats. Those incumbents up for re-election are: Carol Hunstein, Hugh Thompson and Harold Melton.
Justice George Carley would also face re-election in 2012, but announced his retirement last month. Carley went the opposite route of Justice DeMuniz in Oregon; he timed his retirement to give Governor Nathan Deal the opportunity to appoint a successor.  In Georgia, appointed judges must run in the next general election more than six months after appointment. To get around this, Carley will retire in July.
So far, none of the three incumbent justices have announced plans to run for re-election, nor have any challengers presented themselves.
- ↑ AL.com, "Charlie Graddick hits the airwaves; Dale Peterson rides again; and more," October 31, 2011
- ↑ AL.com, "Civil Appeals Court Judge Tommy Bryan announces run for Alabama Supreme Court," September 21, 2011
- ↑ AL.com, "Tuscaloosa Circuit Judge Scott Donaldson drops out of Supreme Court race," September 19, 2011
- ↑ AL.com, "Lyn Stuart seeks re-election to Alabama Supreme Court," October 27, 2011
- ↑ Montgomery Advertiser, "Business groups endorse candidates," September 30, 2011
- ↑ Gazettetimes.com, "Durham to retire from Oregon Supreme Court," November 1, 2011
- ↑ The Oregonian, "Oregon Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz will retire at end of term, leaving seat to wide-open race," October 13, 2011
- ↑ Oregon Secretary of State, Candidate Information, David V. Brewer
- ↑ Oregon Secretary of State, Elections Division, Candidate Filing Search Results
- ↑ Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Timing of Justice Carley's retirement will let Deal pick successor," October 4, 2011
|This article was written by Katy Farrell, the Editor of Judgepedia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.|