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25 July 2008

Court of Appeals Candidate Seeks To Tone Down Caustic Rhetoric

Two years after Georgia state Supreme Court Justice Carol Hunstein raised eyebrows with a fierce television ad attacking her opponent, Court of Appeals candidate Chris McFadden signed a pledge stating that he would keep his campaign free of the antics and tactics frequently seen in races between candidates of the two major political parties.

The pledged signed by McFadden and two other Court of Appeals candidates --Sara Doyle & Bruce Edenfield-- was drawn up by the Georgia Committee for Ethical Judical Campaigns, a coalition of attorneys, legal scholars and business people seeking to reduce the hints of partisanship that seem to have made its way into nonpartisan judicial races.

In past election cycles, judicial candidates have been asked how they would rule on certain controversial issues such as abortion and gay marriage; questions usually reserved for persons running for Congress or a state legislative office.

Chris McFadden, a founder of the Georgia Committee for Ethical Judicial Campaigns, recently declined to respond to a questionnaire from the Georgia Right to Life organization saying that there is an inherent conflict between the organization's questionnaires and a judge's duty to be fair and impartial.

"I pledged that I will not take any action during a campaign that will give the appearance that I, as judge or as a candidate, am predisposed to rule on any matter coming before me in a particular way," McFadden said. "I will adhere to that pledge."