None of the above: Write-in candidates become alternatives for state chief justice
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Apr 03, 2012 | 2158 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alabamians rightly thought the race for the chief justice of the state Supreme Court could not get much stranger than a contest between the defrocked former chief justice and his multi-defeated, criminally-convicted, law-license suspended opponent.

But now there is a growing list of write-in candidates — some serious and some not-so — seeking votes of those who support “neither of the above.”

Interestingly, a few of these write-in candidates are as qualified (maybe more so) than the party nominees.

Ginger Poynter, a graduate of Regent University School of Law, is a successful attorney and former president of the Mobile County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.

Better known, at least to the former chief justice, is Melinda Lee Maddox, who was one of the attorneys who successfully sued him over the Ten Commandments monument he put in the lobby of the state judicial building. That suit led to the federal court order that former chief justice refused to obey, which led to his removal from office.

For Maddox, putting herself in the race as a write-in candidate is an act of personal courage. When she took part in the lawsuit, a few people who apparently disagreed with Moore’s removal shot into her house, vandalized her car and hung dead squirrels in her yard. Before it was over, federal marshals were assigned to protect her.

Also exploring the write-in possibility is Birmingham attorney Scott Gilliland, who ran unsuccessfully against Republican Secretary of State Beth Chapman in 2010. Like many Democrats, he feels he can’t vote for his party’s nominee, Harry Lyon. However he can’t bring himself to vote for the Republican, either. He might as well vote for himself and hope others will, as well.

Then there is Jeff Deen, one of Mobile’s leading defense attorneys. He surveyed the increasingly ludicrous scene and a decided that since he had taken a course in constitutional law in college and had the endorsement of the “Dixie Bar Association” — a sandbar off the southeast end of Dauphin Island — he was as well qualified as any.

He promises not only to interpret the Constitution but also the Ten Commandments by paying particular attention to the 10th Commandment and its restrictions on coveting. By doing so, he offers voters something entirely different to consider.

What was going to be a dull and depressing race is shaping up to be anything but that. Our recommendation? Get to know the candidates. All of them.
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