Judiciary

Judge who ordered parents to change baby's name from Messiah is out of a job


A Tennessee judge who ordered a baby’s name changed from Messiah to Martin has been replaced.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew was dismissed on Friday, report Reuters, the Associated Press and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Ballew had refused to approve the name during an August hearing, saying the Messiah title was reserved for Jesus Christ. The decision was overturned, and Ballew was accused of violating legal ethics rules.

The presiding judge, O. Duane Slone, terminated Ballew’s appointment and appointed a new magistrate without giving a reason. Slone didn’t return a phone call, but another judge, Rex Henry Ogle, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal that the local judges made a group decision to replace Ballew. Ogle said Ballew’s Messiah order was just one factor in their decision.

Ballew is facing a March 3 hearing before the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct. The board still has jurisdiction over Ballew, the board’s chairman said in a statement.

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