The Chief Justice of the First Court of Appeals is Sherry Radack. She was elected Chief Justice in 2004, but is retiring this year. A new Chief Justice will be chosen by voters in the general election on November 8th. Three names will be on the ballot.
The Republican candidate is Terry Adams. He is a former judge on the Court.
The Democratic candidate is Julie Countiss. She is currently a judge on the Court.
Ted Wood is the third candidate. He is believed to be the first Independent candidate in the Court’s 130-year history.
Both Adams and Countiss are qualified to be Chief Justice. Either of them would keep the Court churning along much as it always has. Of course, this is precisely the problem.
A Chief Justice who is a Republican or a Democrat is typically viewed as having a built-in bias. It could well be that neither Admas nor Countiss would make rulings based on their party label. But the perception of bias would still exist. And when it comes to our courts, perception is everything.
Also, both Adams and Countiss have no qualms about accepting contributions to fund their campaigns. Through the end of 2021, Adams had raised over $44,000. Countiss had raised almost double that. Nearly 40% of the contributions to Adams came from lawyers. More than 50% of the contributions to Countiss were made by lawyers.
As November 2022 approaches, contributions to each candidate will almost certainly be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maybe these contributions won’t affect judicial rulings. But again, the problem is perception.
Ted Wood is not running as a Republican or a Democrat. He is an Independent. He will not make rulings that align with a partisan agenda.
Also, Ted is not accepting any contributions. He is steadfastly trying to avoid any perception of bias or favoritism.
Ted’s mission is to increase confidence in our court system. The current system is broken and badly in need of repair.
Ted believes that, given a choice, voters will opt for an independent judge.