On December 23 Governor Bryant announced the appointment of Court of Appeals Judge Jimmy Maxwell to fill Justice David Chandler’s seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court. Here is the Clarion-Ledger article on the appointment.

Judge Primeaux explained the back story on his blog last week:

Chandler’s resignation earlier this month, to assume leadership of the state’s troubled foster-care program, created the vacancy to which Maxwell is appointed. Only the timing is surprising. It was widely known that Justice Chandler did not intend to run again when his term ended in 2016. Multiple sources said that Maxwell intended to run for Chandler’s seat if he did not run again.

That probably made this an easy appointment for Governor Bryant. Governors do not like appointing judges who proceed to get beat in elections. Maxwell would likely have been the favorite in an open election to fill Justice Chandler’s seat if he had served out his term. So it makes sense to go ahead an appoint him now.

The appointment also allows Bryant to appoint Maxwell’s successor on the Court of Appeals.

Maxwell is a friendly judge, which makes him popular with the Bar. I don’t want to go down a rabbit trail, but a judge’s popularity with the Bar is probably determined more by friendliness than any other single factor. It makes sense if you think about it–it’s hard to conclude that a judge was out to get you when they were being so friendly when ruling against you.

Next up for Governor Bryant is filling Justice Pierce’s seat on the Court.