Monday, June 11, 2007

MS Supreme Court talks about Justice Court Judge Qualifications

I really found this opinion, Montgomery v. Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee, interesting. Late last year myself and 2 other reference librarians I work with all considered running for an open Justice Court Judgeship in Rankin County. However, none of us lived in the district represented. We did a little research and could not find anything saying you must live in the district but common sense says you should live in the district and we all kind of dismissed the idea (plus we are all pretty busy so it was mostly just talk anyway).

Then last week the Supreme Court handed down the opinion in Montgomery which clearly provides that we were right about the law and wrong in our assumption. Apparently the only qualifications are those explicitly laid out in the Mississippi Constitution, Sec. 171 and 241, and being in the county is enough and being in the district in not required. This is despite a somewhat on point law, 23-15-359, and an Attorney General's Opinion that disagreed with where the Court went.

Let me take this as an opportunity to share that AG opinions are almost entirely worthless, they are kind of like Presidential singing statements and carry no weight and in modern day legalities carry no sway (unlike the sway they might have carried in the early 20th century). This is not a fault or indictment on the AG's office but just a simple truth that no one should pay attention to them because the courts do not.

As always feedback and/or discussion is welcomed.

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