In the Nov. 3 election, voters from 20 parishes will entertain bids from two state appellate court judges to succeed Associate Justice Marcus Clark at the state Supreme Court.
Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Jay McCallum, of Farmerville, and Third Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Shannon Gremillion, of Alexandria, are the two candidates in the race to fill the Supreme Court vacancy.
Both candidates are Republicans.
Clark, of West Monroe, retired from the Supreme Court in June after being on medical leave for several months. Clark was elected to a 10-year term in 2016, meaning his successor will fill Clark’s unexpired term on the high court.
Early voting for the Nov. 3 election begins Friday.
The district includes Bienville, Caldwell, Catahoula, Claiborne, Concordia, East Carroll, Franklin, Grant, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Rapides, Richland, Tensas, Union, West Carroll, and Winn parishes.
Gremillion, who is a Ferriday native, secured election to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal in 2008 after a vacancy opened on the appeal court when his father, Judge Glenn Gremillion, retired.
“I am running for the Supreme Court because I believe my 12 years of experience as a judge on the Court of Appeal and my background as a lawyer defending small businesses and families uniquely qualify me to serve on our state’s highest court,” Gremillion said.
McCallum, who was raised outside of Bernice, was elected to the Second Circuit in 2017 after serving 15 years as a trial court judge for the Third Judicial District, including Lincoln and Union parishes. McCallum previously served as a member of the state House of Representatives from 1992 to 2002 and as an assistant district attorney for the Third Judicial District.
“I’ve been very humbled by the endorsements I’ve gotten from law enforcement in 15 of the 20 parishes in the district,” McCallum said. “The support been very humbling and overwhelming. People who look back at my voting record as a legislator will see I’m pro-life and fully support the Second Amendment.”
In a remark apparently aimed at Gremillion, McCallum referred to his experience as a trial court judge as part of his unique qualifications for the job of associate justice.
“I’m the only candidate in the race who was a trial court judge, and I would bring that experience to the Supreme Court by respecting and understanding the decisions of trial court judges across the state,” McCallum said. “For example, I’m the only candidate who, as a trial court judge, had the experience of reviewing search warrants to ensure there was probable cause.”
In response, Gremillion argued the Supreme Court office would require more appellate court experience than that of a trial court judge.
“The Supreme Court is an appellate court not a trial court,” Gremillion said. “Their job is to review other judges’ rulings, something I have been doing for 12 years. Jay got to the appellate court in 2018 and by 2019 was already running for the Supreme Court. I have exponentially more experience as an appellate court judge which is the right experience for our state’s highest court.”