A fairly rare event -an open seat on the Supreme Court of Georgia- will likely be contested next spring. Here’s a press release from John Ellington:
Georgia Court of Appeals Presiding Judge John Ellington today announced his candidacy to succeed retiring Justice Carol Hunstein on the state Supreme Court. The nonpartisan election will appear on all ballots for the 2018 primary.
“I am running for the Georgia Supreme Court because I believe a top-notch Judiciary is essential to a high quality of life for Georgians,” Ellington said. “I have spent my entire career serving the people of Georgia in every type of court we have in this state. I want to take that experience to our state’s highest court. I will spend the next year talking with Georgia voters about my qualifications, listening to their thoughts on the Judiciary and asking for their support.”
Even before its launch, Ellington’s campaign for the Supreme Court has garnered the backing of Georgia’s top elected officials and leaders from the legal and business sectors.
“Judge Ellington’s qualifications for our highest court speak for themselves, but a good judge is more than an impressive resume,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “A good judge possesses the character, ability and integrity needed to deliver the promise of our state motto: Wisdom, Justice and Moderation. Judge Ellington embodies those characteristics, and he will receive my vote next year.”
“Judge Ellington is among the great minds in Georgia’s legal community,” said Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge). “A judge’s job is to call the balls and strikes and enforce the rule of law. Judge Ellington has done that job in a way that has earned him bipartisan respect in every corner of the state.”
Rep. Calvin Smyre (D-Columbus), the longest serving member of the Georgia General Assembly, highlighted that bipartisan support.
“In over 43 years in the Legislature, I’ve never known a more popular and dedicated elected official,” Smyre said. “Leaders in the House and Senate – across the aisle – and all across Georgia are supporting Judge Ellington.”
Retired Chief Judge Herbert Phipps of Albany served with Ellington for 18 years on the Georgia Court of Appeals. “Nobody in Georgia is more qualified to serve on the Supreme Court than John Ellington,” he said.
Sharri Edenfield of Statesboro, former president of the Younger Lawyers Division of the State Bar, said Judge Ellington “is a great role model for lawyers. Routinely, he travels all over Georgia promoting the legal profession and encouraging younger lawyers.”
Ellington receives similar praise from prosecutors, including the 2017 District Attorney of the Year Tim Vaughn of Eastman.
“I’ve tried cases in Superior Court in front of Judge Ellington when he was a trial judge,” said Vaughn, the district attorney for the Oconee Judicial Circuit. “I have followed his career on the appellate bench. There is nobody in the judiciary that law enforcement respects more than Judge Ellington.”
David M. Ratcliffe, the former president of Georgia Power Co. and CEO of Southern Co., will serve as campaign chairman.
Ellington is a graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the University of Georgia School of Law. He presided in Municipal Court, State Court and Superior Court before his appointment and multiple re-elections to the state Court of Appeals.
Ellington and his wife, Sandra Kate, live on a family farm in Soperton.