Too often, the ballot affords a choice between the lesser of two evils. In the race to fill the seat vacated by District Judge Megan Lake Thornton, voters are able to select either of two standouts.
Attorneys and judges who have worked with them have effusive praise for Melissa Moore Murphy and John Tackett. Each professes a lifelong ambition for a seat on the bench.
Our choice is Murphy, who will bring both sterling qualifications and a compelling life story of to the bench, including being the victim of a crime at a young age and persevering through law school as a single mother.
A graduate of the University of Kentucky and its law school, Murphy has practiced law for 14 years. She serves as senior attorney for the Urban County Government, with prior experience in the Fayette County attorney’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the McCracken County courts.
In addition, she serves on the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the Lyric Theater board and has served on school-based decision-making councils. As an attorney in city hall, Murphy helped launch Lexington’s affordable housing loan and grant program. She advocates for a new diversion program for juvenile offenders.
Tackett, son of the late appeals court judge Julia Tackett, seems born to the task. Educated at the University of Chicago and University of Kentucky School of Law, he has 14 years of legal experience and brings a deep-seated understanding that judges are there to serve the public, rather than exercise power.
His call for upgrading the training of clerks, the frontline of the public’s contact with the legal system, is commendable, as is his advocacy of a legal ombudsman to ease the often-stressful experience of a court appearance. Considerate and thoughtful, Tackett would make an excellent judge.
But Murphy gets the endorsement this time. We have every confidence that she will well serve the causes of fairness and justice.
The unendorsed candidate may submit a 250-word response by noon Tuesday.