An East Tennessee judge who ordered a baby’s name to be changed from Messiah to Martin has been charged with judicial code violations by the state’s Board of Judicial Conduct.
When parents who were arguing over the surname of their 8-month-old baby, they had no idea what Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew was about to do back in early August. The judge surprised both parents when she said the baby’s first name was not in the baby's best interest. Her written order said "`Messiah' is a title that is held only by Jesus Christ," according to Fox News.
The order also stated, "Labeling this child `Messiah' places an undue burden on him that as a human being, he cannot fulfill."
The Tennessean reports that Ballew’s decision was later overturned by another judge who said that Ballew had acted unconstitutionally. The baby’s parents had also filed a complaint against Ballew with the Board of Judicial Conduct.
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Ballew has 30 days to answer the board’s charges, which allege that she did not promote confidence in the judiciary or uphold the law without bias or partiality through her actions.
The judicial code the panel cited centers on a clause that says religion and other personal biases must not play roles when judges are performing their duties, according to Reuters.
After Ballew responds, a hearing will be held on her case within 60 days.
Reuters also reports that Messiah was the 387th most popular name for boys born in the United States in 2012, based on applications for Social Security cards filed with the U.S. Social Security Administration.