Editorial—Oconee needs to stand by a strong candidate

The distinguished jurist who makes West Union his home will call it a career on December 31, 2014. It’s not that the Hon. Alex Macaulay clamors for the retired life. Rather, as all others in his situation, he must adhere to the state’s mandatory retirement for judges at age 72. Macaulay will celebrate his 72nd on January 31, 2014. He has elected to take the option of working through 2014.

The process to find Macaulay’s successor will likely officially start in the spring when the state begins to accept candidates for screening. Those deemed qualified submit to an election by the state legislature to determine the winner. In these parts, the judgeship held by Oconeean Macaulay is regarded as reserved for an Oconee County resident. Technically, that’s not true. In black-and-white, we’ve seen the applicable law which, while it provides for two judges for the 10th Circuit, it does not stipulate a resident judge in each county. That’s a surprise to Oconeeans who’ve been used to having a judge live in their midst. Before Macaulay it was Howard Ballenger.

We’ve already heard the names of two prominent Oconeeans who likely to be interested in the judgeship. And that’s great. What may be of paramount importance is for the county to get behind at least one good candidate with enough promise that he or she could ward off any attempt from Anderson to gain the seat.

That’s our view. What’s your?