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Justice touts court philosophy

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Mike Randolph carries a copy of the state Constitution with him wherever he goes.

     Randolph said that document along with the U.S. Constitution and the Bible have been his guides during his approximately eight years on the state’s highest court.

     “I thought if I paid attention to all three, I could be a pretty good judge,” Randolph told the Brookhaven Lions and Kiwanis clubs Tuesday while recalling his 2004 appointment by then-Gov. Haley Barbour.

     Shortly thereafter, Randolph won election to the bench and is now campaigning for re-election. He will face Talmadge Braddock, a Hattiesburg attorney, on the Nov. 6 ballot in the non-partisan race to represent the Southern district on the state high court.

     Biblical issues highlighted Randolph’s brief address to the joint club meeting Tuesday.

     At the time of his appointment, Randolph recalled a California appeals court ruling in which a judge there ruled in favor of removing “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.

     “I thought, ‘Where are we headed now,'” Randolph said.

     Randolph also pointed out the irony that the Ten Commandments are prominently on display around the Supreme Court building in Washington. Also, the court and Congress open their sessions with prayer.

     “(Yet) these same people tell us our kids can’t pray in school,” Randolph said.

     Randolph’s address followed a short Girl Scouts troop presentation on vandalism and making the right choices in life. The justice echoed the good choices theme in discussing the upcoming election.

     “This year, you’re going to be facing one of the most important elections in the history of the United States,” Randolph said.

     Speaking of national issues, Randolph touched on foreign conflicts in Afghanistan and elsewhere and the committing of U.S. troops to those areas.

     The justice, a Vietnam veteran said Congress has the constitutional authority regarding war and sending our troops. However, he said that authority has been violated by both Democratic and Republican presidents since the 1950s.

     “It should not be one man’s decision,” Randolph said.