Last week we brought up Katie Stine trying to weasel her way onto the Kentucky Supreme Court. Everyone got anxious because they didn’t want to think about another extremist, politically-motivated judge sitting on the bench. Which, well, duh, the entire country has had enough of that.
Fast forward to someone actually worthy of being a judge and someone more likely to relate to Kentuckians.
Allison Emerson Jones. She’s 38, independently-minded, not motivated by politics, accomplished, experienced and well-reasoned. (We’ve read through nearly all of the 85 opinions she authored in her first year as an administrative law judge – which she wrote without a staff attorney or paralegal – and not a single opinion has been reversed or remanded.)
She’s been an administrative law judge since January. Before that, she was a staff attorney for the U.S. District Court (Western), a law clerk to the venerable John Heyburn and a practicing attorney in the world of intellectual property. So it’s easy to see why we like her.
But the real reason Jones makes sense?
Read the rest after the jump…
Her knowledge of issues that constantly hit the Kentucky Supreme Court. This may seem like hype from us – it’s not – our brains are just melty from having read hundreds upon hundreds of pages of her stuff. Stick with us for a few.
- There were 27 appeals in FY 2011-2012 to the Kentucky Supreme Court that resulted in 30 opinions. In that same period, the Supreme Court issued something like 90 opinions in civil discretionary review cases. When you exclude criminal and workers’ comp cases, that’s 25% of the Supreme Court’s docket. Since current rules require automatic Supreme Court discretionary review if requested in workers’ comp cases, it makes sense to have an expert on-hand.
- When Jones worked as a staff attorney for the first federal district, she was selected by federal judges to serve as the main attorney responsible for reviewing habeas petitions. For those unfamiliar with what we’re going on about, that means state prisoners challenging the constitutionality of convictions after exhausting the appeals process. One of those cases she was involved in: the Michael Carneal appeal. Working those death row petitions and other state court convictions, it’d be nearly impossible not to develop an expertise.
- While at Stites & Harbison, Jones focused on business litigation and class action suits. But everyone we’ve spoken with thinks she shines in the areas of intellectual property disputes, insurance, real estate and medical malpractice. All areas that are easily swayed by personal politics and the good old boy system that exists in Kentucky. A system she is not a part of.
She’s had letters of support sent by a U.S. Magistrate Judge, her administrative law judge colleagues, Judge Heyburn (who wrote, “I would give Allison my highest recommendation for a judicial appointment, including the appellate courts.” – which is kind of a big deal, her former colleagues at her firm and everyone else under the sun.
But some people are trying to make hay out of her age. Which is infuriating beyond belief. She’s 38. Not a baby, not an elderly ideologue. It’s silly. So let’s look at a bit of research to put the age issue to bed before the good old boy system in Frankfort has a chance to freak out any more.
- Steve Beshear started serving in the State House at 29. Attorney General at 35. 39 when he became Lieutenant Governor.
- Andy Beshear is 35 and is already trying to mount a campaign to replace Jack Conway in the Office of the Attorney General.
- Jack Conway was 38 when he finally won an election to become Attorney General.
- Adam Edelen is about a month younger than Jones and is already being discussed as a candidate for governor. He became Auditor of Public Accounts at 37.
- Alison Lundergan Grimes is four years younger than Jones.
- Joe Lambert was 38 when he was elected to the Court. He served for 22 years – ten of them as Chief Justice.
- John Roach was 38 when Ernie Fletcher appointed him to serve on the Court.
- Federal District Court Judge Amul Thapar was nominated at 38, his colleague David Bunning at 35. Federal Magistrate Judge Hanley Ingram was appointed in his 11th year of practice and his colleague, Robert Wier, was appointed during his 13th year of practice – just like Jones.
So, please shut up about age, people. And start calling John Minton, the governor and everybody else and ask them to consider Jones instead of some partisan hack. The only way to combat the folks legislating from the bench is to put people like this into office.