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The Political Round-Up:

'Ginger' for Justice

By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
A Mobile attorney plans to mount a write-in campaign for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court because “Alabama deserves better than either” Republican nominee Roy Moore or Democratic nominee Harry Lyon.

Ginger Broadway Poynter said she will ask voters to write in “Ginger” for the top
spot on the high court.

“It is easier to win with only
one name for people to
remember and Ginger is
pretty distinctive,” she
observed. It wasn't
immediately clear whether a
vote for "Ginger" would
necessarily be sufficient
identification for the vote to
count for Poynter. A Nov. 4,
1966 opinion by then-Attorney
General Richmond Flowers
addressed the issue but doesn't seem to be so clear as to prevent dispute.

She will campaign as an independent, she said.

“I have always considered myself Independent but am
registered to vote Republican,” she said. “I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats in the past.”

Should Poynter win, she would not seek a second term, she said.

“I am not a career politician nor do I want to be,” she said. “If elected, I would pledge to not seek a second term. I believe our system works best when run by people who have to go back and live under the rules and laws they have instituted.

Poynter has practiced law for almost 10 years. She graduated from Regent School of Law in Virginia and also attended the University of Texas School of Law as a visiting student. She worked in the appellate division of the Travis County Attorney's Office in Austin, Texas, writing briefs. She was a prosecutor in Texas before moving to Alabama in 2004.

“I feel Alabama deserves better than either Moore or Lyon,” Poynter said.

“When I think of Moore defying a lawful order of a federal judge, it reminds me of Gov. Wallace defying a federal order to allow Black children into the schools,” she continued. “We are a nation of laws and a judge has to take an oath to defend the laws of the State and the laws of the United States. Moore has shown that he won't do that and according to a speech he gave recently he doesn't appear to believe he did anything wrong.”

Moore was removed from office as Chief Justice after he defied a federal court order to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from the state's Judicial Building in Montgomery. Praised and derided, Moore has attracted much national notoriety as Alabama's "10 Commandments judge."

Poynter said that she, too, like Moore, is a Christian, “… but Jesus told us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's.”

“If (Moore) is elected, it will only reinforce the negative stereotype that most of the rest of the country has about Alabama,” Poynter said. “I want Alabama to be known as a state that respects the rule of law and cares about our justice system.”

“As for Lyon, I don't think there's anyone -- with the possible exception of his mother -- who believes he should be elected to any position,” said Poynter. “The State of Alabama has seen fit to take his law license in the past. That is something they don't do lightly.”

Besides being the only female seeking the judgeship, Poynter said she was further distinguished from the party nominees because “I suppose I am the only candidate in the race at the moment who has never been removed from office, disbarred, or shot.”

Poynter has four children: a son who is a U.S. Marine, who served three tours in Iraq; a son who is a stay-at-home dad; a son who is a freshman at the University of South Alabama; and a daughter who is a sophomore in high school. She has four grandchildren.

She noted that she teaches a 3rd grade Sunday School class every Sunday.

The owner of her own law practice, Poynter has trial experience that runs the gamut from a speeding ticket to capital murder.

“I have never held public office but I am in the courtroom every day,” she said. “I know first hand how hard judges, prosecutors, attorneys, clerks, and court staff work to help citizens receive the justice they deserve.”

“Right now access to justice is denied to too many people,” she charged. “I had a case that I filed in August, 2010 and because the court system is so backed up, it took over six months to be put on the court calendar and then another six months to appear before a judge. This was a custody case involving children. A year is too long to wait before ever getting before a judge. As chief justice, I would work to streamline the process so that people aren't waiting a year for justice. While on the bench, I will listen to the cases before me and decide them based on the rule of law and not some whim or special interest. “

Although this will be her first bid for public office, Poynter said she has previously been encouraged to run but “never felt the desire to put myself out there. Running a political campaign is a grueling experience and not something I relished but after seeing who are choices are for Chief Justice, I felt that something had to be done.”

She said she was still in the incipient stages of organizing her campaign which will be “purely grass roots.”

“I feel strongly that neither party is happy with their candidate” and she presented a more attractive choice, “especially if I pledge to not run for a second term.”

“Should be fun,” she said.

Moore squeaked out a win over Mobile Circuit Judge Charlie Graddick and incumbent Chief Justice Chuck Malone, claiming just over the required 50 percent on March 13 to avoid a runoff. Lyon was unopposed for the Democratic position on the ballot in the Nov. 6 general election.
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