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Two state Supreme Court justices face contested November elections

Two Mississippi Supreme Court justices will face challengers in their reelection bids this year, and three people are running for an open seat on the Mississippi Court of Appeals. 

Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens from the central district faces four opponents: Jackson-based attorney Abby Gale Robinson, former state Court of Appeals Judge Ceola James, Byram-based attorney Byron Carter and Republican state Sen. Jenifer Branning of Philadelphia.

Incumbent Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam from the southern district will compete against Gulfport-based attorney David Sullivan.

After initially telling Mississippi Today he would run for reelection, District 5 Court of Appeals Judge Joel Smith decided not to stand for reelection and return to private practice. 

“It’s been the honor and privilege of my professional life to serve the people of this great State for so many years, first as an Assistant DA, then as District Attorney and now on the Court of Appeals,” Smith said in a statement. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to work with a multitude of dedicated and hardworking people along my path.”

Three people are now vying for Smiths’ judicial seat: Chancery Court Judge Jennifer Schloegel, Pascagoula-based attorney Amy Lassiter St. Pe and Chancery Court Judge Chad Smith.

On the Supreme Court, Justice Bobby Chamberlain and Justice Jimmy Maxwell will run unopposed, as will Judge Latrice Westbrooks and Judge Jack Wilson of the Court of Appeals.

Judicial offices are nonpartisan, so candidates do not participate in a party primary. All candidates will appear on the Nov. 5, 2024, general election ballot. If a candidate does not receive a majority of the votes cast, the two candidates who received the most votes will advance to a runoff election on Nov. 26.

Judges on Mississippi’s two highest courts do not run at large. Instead, voters from their respective districts elect them.

The nine members of the Supreme Court are elected from three districts: northern, central and southern. The 10 members of the Court of Appeals are each elected from five districts across the state.

The judges are elected in staggered terms, so not all 19 seats of the two courts are up for election each cycle.

The two-tier appellate system hears appeals from chancery and circuit courts across the state. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort, meaning its orders cannot be appealed to another state court.

Here is the full list of candidates running for a seat on the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals:

Supreme Court 

District 1, Place 3: 

  • Jim Kitchens, incumbent 
  • Abby Gale Robinson 
  • Ceola James 
  • Byron Carter 
  • Jenifer Branning 

District 2, Place 2: 

  • Dawn Beam, incumbent 
  • David Sullivan 

District 3, Place 1: 

  • Bobby Chamberlain 

District 3, Place 2: 

  • Jimmy Maxwell 

Court of Appeals 

District 2, Place 2: 

  • Latrice Westbrooks 

District 3, Place 1: 

  • Jack Wilson 

District 5, Place 2: 

  • Jennifer Schloegel
  • Amy Lassiter St. Pe 
  • Chad Smith 

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