Justice Randy Pierce announced Monday that he is resigning from the Court to head the Judicial College at the University of Mississippi School of Law. Here is the Clarion-Ledger’s article on the story.

In yesterday’s post concerning Justice Chandler’s resignation I mentioned rumors of other departures. This was one of the rumors I had heard.

From the Clarion-Ledger article:

Pierce, up for re-election in November of next year, said he already had decided not to seek another term.

“When the announcement was made that a search was under way for a new director at the Judicial College, I thought it would be a great opportunity to use my experience and background in that capacity,” Pierce said. “… I look forward to continuing to work with the judiciary.”

My Take:

Campaign for a judicial seat or move to Oxford and work at the law school? Hard to argue with Justice Pierce’s decision.

I don’t know that Justice Chandler’s and Pierce’s resignations were influenced by looming elections for their seats. But who could blame a Supreme Court justice for not wanting to have to go on the campaign trail?

As I’ve pointed out before, at a minimum, the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals slots in the state judiciary should be appointed. Surely there is a way to appoint the existing justices and court of appeals judges and eliminate future elections. If the Republican majority in the legislature wants to enact any judicial reforms, they should start there.

As far as Pierce’s replacement, I’ve heard nothing. But I am not plugged in to Governor Bryant’s staff. Call your ranking Republican friend for more info.

I should note that as far as I know, Justice Pierce was the only justice with experience as a chancellor. Full time chancery court attorneys tell me that it is important for the Court to have chancellor experience. Hopefully, Governor Bryant will factor that in when he fills the two open slots on the Court.