Republicans nationally make judges one of their top priorities. Not so, it seems, here in Georgia.
On October 31st, Judge Bryant Culpepper will leave the bench in the Macon Judicial Circuit and the Governor has not yet even begun interviews for a new judge. His office has known about this for months.
There are apparently three contenders now, Phil Raymond, Ed Ennis, and Graham Thorpe. What complicates this is the nature of both Messrs. Raymond and Ennis’s practices — they have private practices. Thorpe is a prosecutor.
If Sonny wants to keep the wheels of justice running smoothly down in the Macon Judicial Circuit and decides to pick Raymond, Ennis, or anyone else in private practice, it is going to take the appointee realistically thirty days to wind down his practice. Only Thorpe would not have to worry about that, being an Assistant District Attorney. Of Ennis and Raymond, Raymond is probably in a better position because his wife already serves as co-counsel on most of his cases.
Nonetheless, there is about to be a vacancy on the bench. Several months have already past. And the Governor’s office has not even conducted interviews.
Given the short amount of time and the fact that the Macon Judicial Circuit has exactly zero judges who are former prosecutors, I’d suspect that Graham Thorpe has the advantage here. Ennis was a former U.S. Attorney, but he has not practices in Georgia Superior Courts any time recently. Phil Raymond handles a lot of family law. And, perhaps most importantly, Thorpe won’t have to take a long time to wind down a law practice.
There’s another reason Governor Perdue needs to get a move on, beyond the fact that there will soon be a vacancy. Whoever is chosen to replace Judge Culpepper will have to run for re-election next year. They’re going to need time to establish a reputation on the bench, a campaign team, and a campaign war chest.
Come on Governor, it’s time to get on the ball on this issue.