Keep pro-tort reform justice Randolph on state high court

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 1, 2004

Voters in Mississippi will decide Tuesday the makeup of thestate’s Supreme Court, as four of its nine members face theelectorate.

In the Southern District, sitting Justice Mike Randolph ofHattiesburg faces a challenge from state Appeals Court Judge JoeLee of Brandon, outside the Southern District.

Randolph, appointed to the high court by Gov. Haley Barbourappears to have the support of the state’s business community,having received the endorsements of the Mississippi MedicalPolitical Action Committee, the Business and Industry PoliticalEducation Committee and the Mississippi Association of RealtorsPolitical Action Committee.

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Lee, meanwhile, seems to be the favored candidate of the state’strial lawyers. During an August meeting with the editorial board ofThe DAILY LEADER, Lee didn’t did not balk at sharing that a largeportion of his campaign contributions have come from triallawyers.

On many issues, both Randolph and Lee profess to hold similarbeliefs. Both say they are pro-family, anti-crime and the otherpositions Mississippi voters expect to hear.

Both candidates also agree on the need for tort reform in thestate – though to what degree is the sticking point.

Randolph makes no qualms about his support for the businesscommunity. He told The DAILY LEADER’s editorial board in Augustthat he can relate.

“I’ve been through all the things the typical businessman hasbeen through,” he said, “and I can understand those problems.”

Lee told the editorial board that “some tort reform wasnecessary” but went on to downplay that, saying juries only six orseven Mississippi counties were known for rendering unreasonableverdicts.

It seems to us that six or seven counties are enough to warrantchange.

Randolph’s commitment to workable tort reform makes the sittingjustice the right choice.

We encourage voters in Lincoln, Lawrence and Franklin countiesand elsewhere in the Southern District to keep Randolph on thestate Supreme Court.