Stephen "Steve" Louis A. Dillard (born November 13, 1969 in Nashville, Tennessee) is an American attorney, appellate court judge, political activist, conservative blogger and lecturer. Dillard is the founder/creator of the weblog Southern Appeal, and co-founded The Coalition for Darfur blog, but is no longer a contributor at either blog. Dillard has also been a contributor to several other conservative and Roman Catholic blogs,. Recently, Dillard served as an advisor for Republican candidates during the 2008 Presidential campaign. In 2010, Dillard was appointed to fill a vacant judgeship on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Education and legal career
Dillard graduated from Samford University and the Mississippi College School of Law (cum laude). In 1996, he was admitted to practice in Georgia, and he is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia and federal bar associations. Dillard clerked for Judge Daniel Anthony Manion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Dillard practiced appellate law with the Macon, Georgia law firm of James, Bates, Pope & Spivey LLP until receiving his judgeship appointment in 2010. He also lives in Macon with his wife, the former Krista McDaniel, and their three children.
On June 1, 2009, Steve Dillard was nominated by Georgia State Senator Cecil Staton (R) to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of Georgia, and, on July 1, 2009, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's Office of Communications announced that the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission had recommended Dillard as one of nine individuals to fill that vacancy. But in August 2009, Governor Perdue appointed Dillard instead to the Judicial Nominating Commission.
In October 2010, Governor Perdue appointed Dillard to fill one of two vacancies on the Georgia Court of Appeals. Dillard's judicial appointment runs from November 1, 2010 through January 1, 2013. On July 31, 2012, Judge Dillard was elected by his fellow Georgians to serve a full six-year term on the Court (2013-2018).
Politics and writing
Dillard's ideology is conservative Republican, federalist, and Roman Catholic. He is a Republican Party activist, and was a delegate for Georgia at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Dillard belongs to the conservative legal organization, The Federalist Society, for which he directs a local chapter. And he has lectured at several law schools on behalf of the Federalist Society, including the University of Notre Dame  and Washington and Lee University.
Dillard started the "Southern Appeal" weblog in 2002 while he was serving as a law clerk to Judge Manion. Dillard started blogging under the pseudonym “feddie” (shorthand for "Federalist") to comply with ethics rules required of federal judicial law clerks. After Dillard completed his clerkship, he revealed his identity to the blogosphere.
Dillard became known in the blogosphere for his commentary on some of President George W. Bush's judicial appointments to the federal courts. Specifically, Dillard wrote in support of William H. Pryor, Jr.'s nomination, and ultimate confirmation, to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. But he vigorously opposed Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States in 2005, which ended up being withdrawn. Dillard has also blogged in opposition to political candidates who claim to be Roman Catholic - but who have views on abortion that are at odds with the Catholic Church's pro-life position.
Dillard is also well-known among legal commentators for coining the catchphrase, "stare decisis is fo' suckas." The statement suggests that courts should disregard established legal precedent and make new decisions that are more favorable to Dillard's ideological views. Dillard explains, however, that the slogan conveys his opposition to stare decisis being used as a form of judicial activism. He argues that if a prior court decision "cannot be squared with the plain/original meaning of the Constitution, then that decision should be overruled with impunity, regardless of its jurisprudential vintage."
In 2010, Campaigns & Elections's Politics Magazine named Dillard as one of the top 50 Republican Influencers in Georgia.
2008 Presidential election work
In preparation for the 2008 Republican Presidential primary election, Dillard started the advocacy website "Catholics against Rudy" to oppose the candidacy of former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani. Dillard then was a legal and political advisor to the unsuccessful presidential campaign of Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, before finally serving on a steering committee for Senator John McCain during the 2008 Presidential election.
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- Kenneth Starr and Joseph Story biographies in Great American Lawyers, (ABC-CLIO (2001)).
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- Hardball with Chris Matthews; MSNBC, Transcript for May 30, 2007 show, retrieved 2008-12-06
- Rosenthal, Seth (2005-12-13), "Pro-Alito Buzz Cloaks a Draconian Agenda", The Nation
- Dillard, Steve (August 26, 2009), First Thoughts: A Supreme Court without Stare Decisis, First Things (blog), retrieved August 17, 2011
- Politics Magazine; Shenin, Aaron Gould, Excerpt of April 2010 issue (PDF), retrieved 2010-06-14
- Sinderbrand, Rebecca (2007-05-22), "Anti-Rudy Catholics Plan Their Assault", The New York Observer