voter.jpgIf you haven’t already done so, please vote in today’s election. Polls close at 7:00 p.m. this evening. I voted at 8:00 a.m. this morning, and the woman at my precinct told me that I was only the fifth voter to darken their doors. This is a very important election, and much is at stake. If you are a lawyer, then you know why this election is important. If you have less experience in Georgia Courts, let me tell you a little more about why this election is important.

  • Our appellate courts make decision on individual cases that shape the way future cases are decided. Most decisions that come out of our Supreme Court and Court of Appeals become the law in terms of how we interpret our the United States Constitution, Georgia Constitution and Georgia statute. Though the governor’s office and the legistlature get the bulk of the attention, much power is placed in the hands of our appellate judges. An individual appellate judge is arguably more powerful than an individual state senator.
  • The Supreme Court is ultimately responsible for regulating attorney discipline in the State of Georgia. The Georgia bar is self-regulated, but decisions on how or whether to discipline lawyers are left in the hands of the justices on the Supreme Court, with the hard work and assistance of lawyers who work for the State Bar of Georgia. It is important to put the best person for the job in that office.
  • Finally, though many people will never end up in court, I meet with many moms, dads, uncles, brothers, spouses, sons, and daughters who are good “regular people.” They come to me because they have found themselves supporting a loved one who has been convicted of a crime or who has some other type of matter pending before our appellate courts. If you get sick and require the assistance of a specialist in the medical field, you have some choice in your doctor. When you appear in front of a judge, the moment to choose has already passed.
  • “The people get the government they deserve.” Alexis de Tocqueville is credited with saying it, but he more likely source is Joseph de Maistre. It rings true.

I’ve shared with you in previous blogs my choice for the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. I’ve also shared resources with you where you can read up on the candidates. Even if you think my choices are way off base and you are going to vote the other way, please vote today. This election is just as important as any other election. And these offices deserve the involvement of the people.

McFadden 006.jpgI recently wrote about my decision to vote for Justice Nahmias over challenger Tammy Lynn Adkins. That post was picked up by Aly Palmer on the ATL Law Blog, the blog of the Fulton Daily Report. The post has generated thoughtful emails to me about the election. I hope that you’ll research the candidates yourselves and make the choice you believe is best for the Georgia Supreme Court bench. For what it’s worth, I’ve always valued competence over philosophy in judges. I’m not a big John Roberts fan, but I thought that he was well-qualified to be an Associate Justice for the United States Supreme Court and now Chief Justice of the United States. And Senator Lindsey Graham’s stock went way up in my book when he broke from the Republican ranks and voted to confirm Elena Kagan to to an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Anyway, I tried to research some more about Ms. Adkins after some emailers suggested I had been hasty. I’m still in the dark about her. This voters’s guide is a good example of what I’m talking about. 

Enough about that race. Over at the Court of Appeals, there is a great deal of information about Chris McFadden and his opponent, Toni Davis. Both have run campaigns intended to inform Georgia voters about the importance of the Court of Appeals and their respective positions. Both have experience in the appellate courts.

I’m casting my ballot for Chris McFadden for several reasons. One, he is a lifelong student of our appellate courts and an experienced appellate practitioner. He will bring a lifetime of experience and a wealth of knowledge to the Court. He’s the author of the hornbook on Georgia appellate practice. His book sits on my desk, in arm’s reach at all times. It’s dog-eared, highlighted, tabbed, and heavily annotated. He’s the founder of the appellate practice section of the State Bar of Georgia and is active in that organization. He’s also worked hard as a candidate and will work hard as a judge. I also consider him a friend.

So, please research the candidates and vote. Also, take the time today to inform your friends that the upcoming election is important. Tell them what you know about the candidates, and encourage informed voting for these very important offices. Help them by guiding them to some places where they can learn about courts and the candidates.