Two Republicans are vying to succeed Judge Jean Stanley, who is not seeking reelection as a Circuit Court Part II judge in the 1st Judicial District.
Suzanne Cook takes on Lois Bunton-Shults-Davis in the May 3 primary ballot for judgeship, which covers Carter, Johnson, Unicoi and Washington counties. The Republican candidate will be alone in the general election ballot on August 4.
Cook is a graduate of the University of Tennessee School of Law, where she is also an adjunct faculty member.
Bunton-Shults-Davis is a graduate of East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee School of Law.
• Why do you want to be a judge?
To cook: “After a 27-year legal career that includes nearly 40 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials, I feel called to serve our community, because just as it matters who rules, so too matters who judges. . It’s a matter of skill as much as character. We need judges who are unquestionably qualified to apply the law “by the book” and who are also grounded in the principles of the “good book”, especially the humility to seek wisdom and discernment before deciding the facts and the law in each case. .”
Bunton-Shults-Davis: “The judicial service offers the possibility of working to seek the truth and promote justice between the parties involved. People in our region have been negatively impacted by COVID-related health issues and restrictions and by the increase in substance abuse and violence. Circuit Court is a place where disputes arising from all of these issues and other events such as business dissolutions and loss of personal property can be resolved under the law. I am attracted to the work of a judge to promote a fair and equitable resolution of all these issues. »
• Why do you think you have the temperament to serve as a judge?
To cook: “Being a mother, a pastor’s wife, and a litigator requires processing large amounts of information, moving at a demanding pace, and helping many different people in stressful situations. I still firmly believe in the traditional role of a judge. Our judges must have a humble understanding of their role: to apply the law as it is written, not to legislate it from the bench. Beyond the letters of the law, there is also a human element that no law school can teach. Law books are not cookbooks.
Bunton-Shults-Davis: “I have worked with disputing parties, injured parties, government officials, citizens seeking redress for government issues, business partners, families, children and other parties seeking to resolve issues. disputes of all types and kinds. I am told that I am patient. I believe in justice and know how to seek the truth from litigants in the running to resolve a dispute.
• Is there anything from your personal or professional background that you think will be an asset for you on the bench?
To cook: “Nearly 40 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials are my primary qualification to preside over a trial court. This experience earned me the honor of teaching trial practice at my alma mater, the UT College of Law. I am also a past president of the Washington County Bar Association and served for many years on a statewide committee with attorneys and judges reviewing and revising rules of practice and of procedure of our courts, or in other words, the how and why of how our courts ensure that the judicial process is impartial for all.
Bunton-Shults-Davis: “I have served by special appointment as a deputy judge, special master, receiver and mediator. I have worked in a wide variety of cases and roles in the court system. I have tried many trials before the bench and I tried jury trials.In my youth, I traveled extensively throughout Eastern and Western Europe.I raised a family and have been married for 29 years.
• What improvements would you like to see made to the court process?
To cook: “If elected, as a junior colleague on the bench, I am committed to working overtime and doing whatever it takes to help get the job done by catching up on cases. That’s because when your family is at stake, your property is in dispute, your business is sued, or you’ve been injured, justice delayed is truly justice denied.
Bunton-Shults-Davis: “I would like to see an accelerated registration of cases involving children affected by drug addiction or violent homes. In addition, I would like to see the expansion of drug recovery courts and residential programs involving abstinence and job training for people who appear in court.
The early voting period for the May 3 primary is from April 13 to April 28. Tennesseans have until Monday to register to vote in the election.