Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Ann Lamar announced last week that she will not seek reelection in November. As was the case when Justice George Carlson retired, there will be an open election to fill Justice Lamar’s seat.
Justice Lamar is a 63 years old and lives in Senatobia. From the Ms News article on the resignation:
“I have been on the Court since 2007 and I commute weekly from my home in north Mississippi. Ten years is a long time to be commuting and spending time away from home and family and grandchildren. After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I know that it is time to leave the Court.”
Justice Lamar did not say it, but you have to wonder if not wanting to have to endure another campaign was also a factor in her decision. There is a lot of talk ‘on the street’ that avoiding a campaign was a factor in Justices Pierce and Chandler leaving the Court.
There are not many judges who became judges because they like politics or running for office. I get the sense that many judges view campaigning with dread. And I sure do not recall a state court judge ever turning down a federal Article III lifetime appointment.
The recent appointment of Judge Dawn Beam to the Court probably made Justice Lamar’s decision easier. If Governor Bryant had appointed a man to replace Justice Pierce, there would now be the embarrassing possibility of a Supreme Court without a single female member.
Under that scenario, there might have been pressure on Justice Lamar to resign now so Governor Bryant could promote Judge Donna Barnes to the Supreme Court. It will still be interesting to see if Judge Barnes runs for Justice Lamar’s seat.
The Secretary of State’s website has a list of judicial candidates already qualified to run in 2016. Here it is.
The big news on the list is that Court of Appeals Judge Kenny Griffis is running against Justice Jim Kitchens for Supreme Court. That’s not a secret or anything, but I haven’t seen it reported yet.
According to the Secretary of State’s website, the deadline for qualifying for judicial elections is May 6, 2016. I’ll try to remember to keep an eye out for who qualifies to replace Justice Lamar.