Republicans In Jackson County Disappointed With Barbour's Choice For Chancery Judge - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/27/05

Republicans In Jackson County Disappointed With Barbour's Choice For Chancery Judge

Some Jackson County Republicans are speaking out against Haley Barbour's choice for District 16 Chancery Judge.

On Friday Democratic state Representative Randy Pierce was sworn into the position.

Now some within Governor Barbour's own party are questioning that appointment.

"Without respect to person..." Randy Pierce repeats as he takes his oath of office.

With these words, Jackson, George and Green County got a new chancery judge.

But many people in the district weren't clapping.

"I told Haley and I was saying it with a smile on my face. We should not be running a damn affirmative action program for democrats in Jackson County," said Republican activist Lynn Rouse.

Rouse says Haley Barbour went against party ties to appoint Pierce to the bench.

He and many others don't understand why.

"Jackson County is 97% to 98% republican in elected offices. So the appointment of a democrat does raise some eyebrows," said Rouse.

"I feel there were a lot more qualified republicans that could have fulfilled those duties than a democrat," he added.

Pierce says Barbour appointed him for his fairness, and not because of his party affiliation.

" The fact is he told me when he was looking for a judge, he said I'm looking for folks who are committed, have integrity, and fair," said Judge Pierce.

Rouse says Pierce will probably do a good job, but he just doesn't want important decisions in his hands.

Pierce says none of this partisanship should matter.

He says he's going to do just what's right 100% of the time.

" I look forward to serving both republicans and democrats, because quite frankly, a courtroom justice is to be blind and nonpartisan. I'm looking forward to some nonpartisan. I promise you that," said Judge Pierce

Governor Haley Barbour's office responded by saying partisanship will not play a role in the appointing of a judge.

The statement went on to say Governor Barbour is an elected official who is responsible to Mississippi, not to a political party.

By Jaimee Goad

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