Business group gives McRae lowest rating on state high court
By By William F. West / community editor
October 19, 2002
State Supreme Court Justice Chuck McRae scored the lowest among the nine justices in ratings released this week by a pro-business watchdog group in Jackson.
The Business and Industry Political Education Committee scored McRae an 8 on a 100-point scale. Justice Chuck Easley came next at 13, followed by James Graves at 21 and Oliver Diaz Jr. at 28.
Justice Kay Cobb had the top score with 74, followed by Jim Smith at 66, George Carlson at 57 and Bill Waller Jr. at 56. Chief Justice Ed Pittman received a 48.
Supreme Court justices are elected to staggered eight-year terms.
McRae's seat is the only one up for election on Nov. 5. McRae, of Pascagoula, will face Gulfport attorney Jess Dickinson and Covington County Chancery Judge Larry Buffington in the election.
BIPEC said it rated the justices on decisions they made related to employment law, insurance law, medical malpractice and workers' compensation.
BIPEC was founded in 1980. The non-partisan organization counts individuals, corporate businesses and more than 30 trade associations among its members.
BIPEC's study covered Supreme Court decisions since 1989. The Washington-based Judicial Evaluation Institute conducted the study for BIPEC; the institute has done similar research in other states.
BIPEC last rated Mississippi Supreme Court justices in 1996.
Christie Yoste, McRae's campaign consultant, said she was not surprised at her candidate's BIPEC rating.
Yoste said incumbent justices or opposition candidates with high ratings from business and industry groups have received large campaign contributions from their allies.