Monday, May 5, 2014

When You Go To The Polls, Here's What The Lawyers Thought

Posted By on Mon, May 5, 2014 at 3:52 PM

How do you decide where to cast your vote for judge?

We're on record as saying that judicial elections, particularly partisan ones, are fraught with problems. But we go to war with the army we've got, not the one we want, so we post again for your edification the results of the Nashville Bar Association poll on each of the races.

Every election, the Bar polls its membership — the people who are presumably in court the most and know the candidates the best — and asks for their opinion on each person running for office. As one counselor told Pith recently, the best way to read it is to see if anyone has a huge percentage of "highly recommend" or "do not recommend." This lawyer's logic, and we tend to agree with it, is that for the most part, the Nashville Bar is a collegial group and numbers over 20 percent or so on "do not recommend" should be a red flag.

If you look at the percentages, even in races where there are high numbers of "no opinion," the poll can still be useful. For instance, in the General Sessions II race, Jim McNamara easily has the highest percentage of "highly recommend," which at 18.5 percent far outpaces the rest of the field. That particular court has been the home of mental-health cases, and those who know the court likely recognize that McNamara, a public defender, has been working in that court for years and understands how it differs from other General Sessions courts.

(Note: There are no breakdowns by party, so Republicans and Democrats are all grouped into one pool.)

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