THOMASVILLE -- Judge Grant Brantley's campaign platform couldn't be simpler. He says he wants to interpret laws -- not make them -- as a member of the Georgia Supreme Court.

Brantley views himself as a conservative alternative to Justice Leah Ward Sears, who is next in line to become chief justice. Religious conservatives have dubbed Spears an "activist judge" because she sided with the majority in overturning Georgia's sodomy law.

"Let me tell you something I heard during a visit to (Thomasville's) First Baptist Church (on Sunday)," Brantley said. "Pastor Dan Spencer said, 'If you want to make a difference, you have to be different. (Sears) and I are certainly different as night and day.

"My whole message comes down to that."

Brantley, a native of Washington County, served in the Air Force and Georgia National Guard, achieving the rank of brigadier general before retiring after 33 1/2 years. He served as a Superior Court judge in Cobb County for three terms (1981-92) before opting not to run for reelection. Currently, he serves as a mediator for Henning Mediation and Arbitration Services in Marietta.

"I think what you do in life is more important than what you say," Brantley said. "I think my life demonstrates my values, which were forged here in Georgia."

Brantley, a law partner of former Attorney General Mike Bowers, said Sears and judges like her "are impatient with the legislative process."

"Sometimes it take years for ideas to become law; sometimes ideas peter out before they become law, but that's the process," he said. "So one who becomes impatient with that and decides what they think law ought to be creates a judicial fiat. That has the effect of elevating one individual's notion of what they law ought to be over the collective wisdom of me, you and electing our state representatives and state representatives.

"I don't think the Supreme Court is a bully pulpit for doing social engineering," Brantley said. "I think the justices ought to interpret the law as it is and not as they think it should be."

The election for Supreme Court will be conduct July 20. It is a non-partisan election, so all registered voters will be able to participate. The Brantley-Sears race will be near the end of the ballot.

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