I was out of town last week, so naturally there was big news in the Mississippi legal community. On Monday, Governor Bryant appointed Supreme Court Justice David Chandler as executive director of the Division of Family Children’s Services, which will oversee the state’s foster care system. Justice Chandler immediately resigned from the Mississippi Supreme Court to accept the governor’s appointment.

Here is the Clarion-Ledger’s article on the story.

I have to admit that the state’s foster care system was not on my radar. The Clarion-Ledger article makes the system sound like a big mess that the governor has to fix under federal mandate. I suspect that it would be embarrassing for Mississippi and the governor for the feds to take over the state system. Justice Chandler, who is 69, plans to serve for four years until the end of Governor Bryant’s term.

I have not heard how long it might take Governor Bryant to appoint a replacement on the Court for Justice Chandler or who it might be. I suspect there is a lot of speculation on the street on these questions.

My Take:

This caught me off guard. You hear rumors from time to time about supreme court justices resigning to do this or that or getting appointed to another position. Almost always, it doesn’t end up happening. In this case, it happened before I heard a rumor about it.

There are fresh rumors about other members of the Court either not running for re-election or having a prominent challenger in their next election cycle. We’ll have to see what turns out to be true. If they all do, we could have a lot different Court in a few years.