What’s in a Name?

Tennessee Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the change of a baby’s first name from “Messiah” to “Martin.”  Ballew explained her unusual decision stating, “The word ‘messiah’ is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ.”  She claims that the change was in the child’s interest to make his life less difficult.  The parents of the child were before the Magistrate upon a request by the father to change the baby’s last name.  The baby’s parents successfully appealed Ballew’s decision in September of 2013.

O. Duane Slone, the presiding judge of the state’s fourth judicial district terminated Ballew’s appointment, effective on January 31, 2014.  Ballew was prosecuted by the judicial conduct disciplinary counsel who alleged several violations of the judicial code of conduct including the requirements that a judge perform her responsibilities without bias and rule with impartiality and fairness.

On March 3, 2014, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct voted unanimously for a public censure of Ballew.

For further information on Ballew’s situation click here, here, and here.

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