Women vie for judgeships in runoff Tuesday

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Next week, two local women will have their dreams of becoming a judge come true.

After crowded nonpartisan races in July, the field has been whittled down to two women each in campaigns for seats on the Superior and State Court benches.

Tuesday's runoff features a contest between Kathy Schrader and Tracey Mason Blasi for the Superior Court and between Emily Brantley and Pam Britt for the State Court.

The four lawyers have made a point to stay neutral on political issues, adding that they would follow the law and not legislate from the bench. Instead, they have worked to differentiate themselves in terms of experience.Superior Court campaignIn the Superior Court race, family law attorney Schrader came out with more than twice the votes of her nearest competitor in the July 31 balloting.

But because she failed to receive more than 50 percent of the tally, she is headed to the runoff against Blasi, a lifelong Gwinnettian with deep family roots.

Schrader says she should be the final pick, since she has experience as a judge for the cities of Duluth and Sugar Hill.

Plus, she has rooted her law practice in family issues, like divorce, custody and adoption, which take up the majority of the Superior Court bench calendar.

"(The court) is the battleground for the future of families," Schrader said at a recent forum. "I am a seasoned general on that battlefield."

Over the decades, Blasi has become a well-known attorney specializing in land use issues and takes great pride in finding solutions palatable to the community even while representing developers in zoning cases. She also said she spends a lot of time on tax issues and real estate transactions.

"I feel like I am the only candidate who fights for taxpayers," she said.

Also spending a lot of time on mediation in her law practice, Blasi said the method could save a lot of the court's time and money if used effectively. And she wants to set up a mental health court to deal with the underlying issues that sometimes lead to crime.

"I have the judicial temperament for the job," she said.State Court benchIn the July standings, Brantley and Britt turned out fairly evenly matched at just over 25 percent of the vote, with Brantley getting the slight edge in the State Court race.

Both have pushed hard in the last three weeks of campaigning, telling stories about small-town girls with big dreams to one day become lawyers.

Brantley once held a position at a prestigious downtown Atlanta law firm, but left it to "hang a shingle" in Gwinnett so she could be more available for her disabled daughter.

Britt worked in the corporate world for 20 years to put herself through law school before she set up practice in her hometown of Grayson.

The two tout different strengths, with Britt building experience in criminal matters and Brantley working on both sides of civil lawsuits.

"You want a trial attorney," she said. "I want to give back. ... Everybody has a right to justice."

Britt has faced many challenges in the race, including defending herself after being called a "liberal Democrat" for voting in one Democrat primary and accusations of sign stealing, which she denies, that led to a Judicial Qualifications Commission filing.

But she said she has made a point to reach out to diverse groups in Gwinnett.

Judges represent all the people in the community," she said. "I went into private practice to help people. That's what I've done for 15 years."


toby 2 years, 11 months ago

Lawyers should not be allowed to be judges. How can a lawyer be fair? Think about it. There should be an additional level of schooling to be a judge. A judge should not be corrupted by being a lawyer. Most lawyers go into congress where they can do more damage.


R 2 years, 11 months ago

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last forum held at GJAC

Kathy Schrader for Superior Court - gets best performance for the evening by far. Hit the ground at a gallop and NEVER slowed down.

Ms. Tracey Mason Blasi gets credit for showing up, it took fortitude for her to sit on that panel. It was Senior Varsity against JR Varsity.

Strong surprise of the night goes to Pam Britt for State Court

Right out of the shoot, she systematically dissected a recent mailing by her opponent line by line. When it came to voting records, she had the facts to point out the errors, even the moderator found the claim made by Emily Brantley of Pam Britt being a "liberal democrat" after being shown proof of Pam's voting 6 of the last 7 primaries as a republican perplexing.

The closing comments were a hoot too.

Emily Brantley attempted to somewhat clone or apply the closing presentation of Ms Kathy Schrader about experience to herself. (Kathy Schrader's stark comparison in her race concerning her record and achievements was THAT strong)

and again went to Pam Britt's voting records, claiming residents weren't interested in a record of 30 years ago... Pam Britt wrapped it up showing she voted in the LAST 7 primaries Since like 2000, a voting record Emily couldn't even match herself.

If a Judge is charged with keeping lawyers "on the green" in the court room without an overflow of theatrics, Pam Britt demonstrated the even keel personality trait required and should win based on that skill. (imho)


MichaelMarr 2 years, 11 months ago

Republican vs Democrat are convenient labels on a ballot but the words do not necessarily mean conservative vs liberal.


skygirl 2 years, 11 months ago

Kathy Schrader and Pam Britt are by far the most qualified! They certainly haven't used all the negativity the Brantley and Blasi campaigns have!


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