Judicial Elections: They Matter

I’m not going to talk about cases, civil procedure or other actual legal issues today.  Instead, I want to remind everyone of their civil duty to vote.   While many Georgians are looking towards the national General Election in November, they are overlooking a fast-approaching election on May 24, 2016.  The Georgia Secretary of State refers to this as the “General Primary Election, Nonpartisan General Election, and Special Runoff Election.”  But it should be more well-known as the Judicial Election.

On May 24, 2016, the polls open to allow the public to vote on their Judges. (There are other elections to be sure, but we don’t care about them here).  Unfortunately, the election does not occur at a commonly understood time, and voting rates reflect this.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State’s records, only 29% of Cobb County’s Registered Voters voted in the July 2012 General Election.  And Fulton County’s rate was a similarly small 25%, with DeKalb County beating them both with 30% of registered voters casting a vote.

 (Most) people know and understand that there is an election in November and sometimes a primary in March, but they do not think about an election in May, June or July.

So I am here to tell/ask/beg you to remind people to vote in May for a Judge, preferably one with a business litigation background.  But no matter what –  Just Vote!

This is the one time that we can have input on who will hear our cases.  And with all due respect to some candidates, I believe there is often a wide gap between the choices when it comes to business litigation cases (which is why this blog exists).  Judges have a constitutional duty to move criminal cases – and many judges with prior criminal law backgrounds do this well – but civil/non-domestic cases can languish.  And Judges who lack a business litigation background, I believe, often ignore business litigation cases.  This can be because of their sheer docket size, a fear of having to actually rule on cases they are not comfortable with, or a general disdain for business litigation because they feel Courts are being used for business objectives and the case will just settle anyway.

I am not going to endorse a candidate here, or discuss specific contested election issues.  But I do want to remind my audience that prior experience matters to what we do and how we do it.  Judges who understand the context of our cases help everyone; they can facilitate resolution; and they can make informed decisions on contract and business law issues.

So, on May 24, go vote for a Judge.

 

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