Carlton seeks Appeals Court post

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 1, 2006

A state lawmaker is aiming for a seat on the Mississippi Courtof Appeals in an increasingly competitive contest.

District 100 Rep. Virginia Carlton, of Columbia, is among sevencandidates seeking to succeed Judge Leslie Southwick on theMississippi Court of Appeals. The Fourth District seat winner willbe determined in the Nov. 7 general election.

“As my Mississippi House of Representatives colleagues canattest, I am accustomed to giving my opinion and straightforwardanswers when asked where I stand on an issue,” said Carlton duringa campaign stop in Brookhaven Tuesday.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

However, seeking judicial office has presented a new challengefor Carlton in that the contest is nonpartisan.

“Judicial candidates have rules for candidacy,” Carlton said.”We cannot comment on issues and how we would rule in particularcases.”

Carlton believes that her voting record in the Legislaturespeaks for itself, but vows that she will not use her role as judgeto legislate.

“Sixteen years ago, I took an oath as an Army officer to defendthe Constitution,” said Carlton, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S.Army Reserves. “The Judiciary, in my view, are the gatekeepers ofthe Constitution.”

Chancery Judge Edward E. Patten, of Hazlehurst, and ChanceryJudge Larry Buffington, of Collins, are also among the field ofjudicial candidates. Attorney Bryant Chaffin of Hattiesburg, Pat J.McNamara, Jr. of Jackson; Scott Phillips, of Columbia; and RichardGrindstaff, of Byram, are also candidates.

The Court of Appeals was established in the early 1980s torelieve some of the burden from the Supreme Court justices.